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Letter from Hugh Glass on display at Pierre heritage center

PIERRE (AP) -- A letter from the man whose story is told in the movie "The Revenant" is on display at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The one-page letter from frontiersman Hugh Glass was sent to the parents of John Gardner, who had been k...

PIERRE (AP) - A letter from the man whose story is told in the movie "The Revenant" is on display at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

The one-page letter from frontiersman Hugh Glass was sent to the parents of John Gardner, who had been killed by American Indians in 1823 near present-day Mobridge, the Capital Journal reported. A Gardner descendant donated it to the South Dakota State Historical Society at the turn of the 20th century.

Glass was attacked by a grizzly bear near Lemmon, South Dakota, in 1823. He crawled 200 miles to get revenge on his fur trapping companions who left him for dead. "The Revenant," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, recounts the survival story.

Interest in the movie prompted the Historical Society to put the letter on display, said Matthew Reitzel, archivist of photos and manuscripts at the heritage center.

Historians don't agree on whether Glass actually wrote the letter himself.

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Reitzel said Glass was illiterate and dictated the letter to someone else. James McLaird, a former Dakota Wesleyan University history professor who wrote a book on Glass that will be published this spring by the Historical Society, thinks Glass probably wrote the letter himself.

"The reason people think Glass was illiterate was because this is the only letter from him we know about," McLaird said.

McLaird and Reitzel agree that having the one physical artifact of Glass that might have his fingerprints on it yet is cool.

Related Topics: PIERREMOVIESHISTORY
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