Way back (1972) when a much younger Robert Redford worked more in front of the camera than behind it, he starred as JEREMIAH JOHNSON, a man disgusted with mid-1800's U.S. "civilization", who decides to drop out, and then tune-in to a purer life as a fur trapper in the Rocky Mountains.
Initially, Johnson epitomizes the term "tenderfoot", and would have starved on the job had he not been taken under the wing of a grizzled, experienced mountain man, Bear Claw, marvelously played by Will Geer. With new skills learned from his mentor, Jeremiah strikes out on his own. Along the way, he becomes encumbered with a "family" - a small white boy essentially orphaned by an Indian raid, and a native wife more or less forced on him by her brother, a friendly Flathead Indian chief. In time, he learns to love them both - an emotional investment for which he pays dearly after a band of Crow Indians retaliates for a major social faux pas that Johnson commits while helping an Army cavalry detachment rescue a party of snow-bound pioneers. From that point, revenge takes over on a tit for tat basis. The conclusion is perhaps a lesson for present-day enemies of long standing on how to end for both sides what is otherwise a no-win situation.
Filmed on location in the Rockies, JEREMIAH JOHNSON is a scenic and powerful contribution to the Western genre of filmmaking. It does particularly well in depicting the lonely solitude lived by the American mountain man of yore. Redford's portrayal of a regular guy just trying to get along and survive is beyond reproach. As a matter of fact, I think it's one of the better roles he's played in his career. Nowadays, when Westerns aren't as much in vogue as they used to be, perhaps the film is worth another look. Oh, and be circumspect when it comes to sauntering through graveyards.