Life on the Edge: 8 Harrowing Tales from the American Frontier

The founding and development of the United States of America certainly didn’t happen overnight, nor did it occur without bloodshed and sacrifice. From the earliest settlers struggling in virgin forests, to the audacious pioneers that relentlessly marched westward across the Great Plains, dangers lurked around every corner. As time went on, most Americans increasingly settled for the relative safety of eastern towns and cities. For a bold few, however, the call of the unknown was irresistible. These frontiersmen and pioneers traveled a dangerous path, literally walking a fine line somewhere between life and death. What follows are some of their stories.

Trapper Survives Grizzly Bear Attack, Crawls Back to Civilization

Our first story is a familiar one, partly due to the success of the 2015 film, The Revenant. It’s a semi-biographical work in which Leonardo DiCaprio portrays the nineteenth-century American frontiersman, Hugh Glass. The explorer’s story has been retold many times over the years. Several literary tales, television episodes, and film adaptations preceded the 2015 movie, variously recounting his gruesome ordeal with differing degrees of accuracy. In a nutshell, Glass managed to fend off a vicious grizzly bear attack, while guiding an expedition through the wilderness. Gravely wounded and left for dead, the resolute frontiersman crawled 250 miles back to civilization, miraculously surviving the entire ordeal.

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