This doesn’t have anything to do with anything, except insofar as Jeremiah Johnson quotes have to do with everything, now don’t they? And Rand keeps telling me that I’m pretty cocky for a starvin’ pilgrim. And then besides that, since I finally took the time to take these down, I need to put them somewhere where I’ll remember them. And who knows? Somebody else might enjoy them. Besides, it weren’t no trouble.
Over the years, a lot of people have added some of their favorite quotes in the comments. Some I can’t believe I missed. Some just don’t resonate with me, but they might with you. So if you’re a fan, check out the comments and if there’s still something missing, add your own comment!
Enjoy! And watch yer topknot.
“His name was Jeremiah Johnson. They say he wanted to be a mountain man. The story goes that he was a man of proper wit and adventurous spirit suited to the mountains. Nobody knows where abouts he come from and it don’t seem to matter much. He was a young man and ghosty stories about the tall hills didn’t scare him none. He was lookin for a Hawkin gun, 50 caliber or better. He settled for a 30, but damn, it was a genuine Hawkin. You couldn’t go no better. Bought him a good horse, traps and other truck that went with being a mountain man and said goodbye to whatever life was down there below. This here’s his story.”
“I, Hatchet Jack, bein’ of sound mind and broke legs do hereby leaveth my bear rifle to whatever finds it. Lord hope it be a white man. It is a good rifle and kilt the bear that kilt me. Anyway, I am dead. Yours truly, Hatchet Jack.”
“I am Bearclaw Chris Lapp, blood kin to the grizzer that bit Jim Bridger’s ass. You are molesting my hunt.”
“I know who you are! You’re the same dumb pilgrim I’ve been hearing for 20 days and smelling for three.”
“You sure are cocky for a starvin’ pilgrim.”
“If I head due west tomorrow, will I find good places to trap?”
“If you head due west or any other place tomorrow, you’ll be a starvin’ pilgrim in a week. You ain’t likely to meet up with someone of my good nature. The mountain’s got it’s own ways.”
“I swear, a woman’s breast is the hardest rock the Almighty ever made on this earth and I can find no sign on it.”
“Didn’t put enough dirt down. Saw it right off.”
“Elk don’t know how many feet a horse have!”
“Watch your topknot.”
“Yup. Watch your’n.”
“That Hatchet Jack was a wild one. [Lived with a she mountain lion in a cave up in the Musselshell.] She never did get used to him.”
“Do you speak any English? I don’t speak any Flathead you know. So don’t bother me. Neither of you.”
“Leave it be. Nothin’ wrong with quiet.”
“Ain’t that a lot easier than sayin’ all that gibberish.”
“It’s been a long time since I had so much of the English language spoke at me. I ain’t used to it.”
“She weren’t no trouble.”
“Maybe you best go down to a town. Get out of these mountains.”
“I’ve been to a town, Del.”
“Ain’t this something? I told my pap and mam I was coming to the mountains to trap and be a mountain man. Acted like they was gut-shot. Says: ‘Son, make your life. Go here. Here’s where the peoples is. Them mountains is for animals and savages.’ I says ‘Mother Gue, the Rocky Mountains is the marrow of the world.’ And by God I was right.”
“Yes, you were.”
“I ain’t never seen ’em, but my common sense tells me the Andes is foothills and the Alps is for children to climb. Keep good care of your hair. These here is God’s finest sculpturins and there ain’t no laws for the brave ones. And there ain’t no asylums for the crazy ones. And there ain’t no churches excepting for this right here. And there ain’t no priests excepting the birds. By God I are a mountain man and I’ll live until an arrow or a bullet finds me and then I’ll leave my bones right here on this great map of the magnificent…[rides into silence]”
“What’s on the spit?”
“Not about feeding. Just the company I keep.”
“You’ve come far, pilgrim.”
“Feels like far.”
“T’were it worth the trouble?”
“Ha? What trouble.”
“You cook good rabbit pilgrim. Cold up here.”
“What brings you up so high?”
“Avalanche took the cabin. Lost my mule. We swum out of it. But no matter. Weren’t no griz left anyway.”
“Would you happen to know what month of the year it is?”
“No, I… I truly wouldn’t. I’m sorry pilgrim.”
“March. Maybe April.”
“March maybe. I don’t believe April. Winter’s a long time going, huh?”
“Stays long this high. March is a green, muddy month down below. Some folks like it. Farmers mostly. You’ve done well to keep so much hair when so many’s after it. I hope you will fare well.”
Best movie EVER! I too have seen it way more times than a sane man should.
You neglected to mention one of the best . . .
JJ: What’s happened to your face
Swan: Cherre ikupus
JJ: Huh? My beard?
Then later, after be sets his beaver traps for the day with Caleb and shaves . . .
JJ: Well, don’t run off! It’s me!
Some more . . .
How long have you bneen carrying your Squaw, Johnson?
So it’s like this . . . one at a time? Lucky they’s Crow. Apaches’d send fifty at once.
JJ: You alright? (talking to Del Que barried up to his neck in the sand)
DQ: Sure, sure. I got a fine horse under me!
JJ: Injuns put cha here?
DQ: Twern’t the Mormons.
JJ: Anyone pass by recently?
DQ: No ones passed by in front of me. Can’t say what’s happened behind me though.
Too many more to mention.
Sorry it took so long to respond, but yes… too many to mention.
I have watched Jeremiah Johnson over 200 times my highscool quote was keep your nose in the wind and your eye along the skyline.
Only objection I have about your posting…don’t need to be male to love the movie or the outdoors. I often use some of these sayings as teaching moments at work…some of the best life lines, anywhere.
Becca – good to get to know you via email. You watch your topknot.
Jeremiah Johnson left such an impression on me, it has been a part of my personal constitution ever since. And I only watched it once. The second time I watched it was with my eleven year old boys, last year. I was as excited as an eleven year old boy just to be able to share it with them, thru the advanced technology of NetFlix. It was obvious they took it to the core of their being as well. I hope to instill in them the need to preserve the church of the great outdoors, to paraphrase Del Que. And I hope to watch this movie this weekend, thanks to this blog.
It’s not “Grown particular”,
“What’s on the spit?”
“Not about feeding. Just the company I keep.”
It is“What’s on the spit?”
“Crow in particular.”
“Not about feeding. Just the company I keep.”
Uhh.. sorry, but no. Watch the movie. Watch it with subtitles on. Search the web for Jeremiah Johnson script. It’s “Grown particular?” which actually makes sense (“Crow in particular” doesn’t make logical sense).
FYI for those who follow… Geoff and I saw this movie together and it defined a fair bit of our childhood.
JJ: “Great White Hunter, yes…yes?”
JJ: “Fine figure of a man, yes?”
JJ: “That is all you will need to know…for now”
And just for clarity, regarding, “Ain’t never seen em, but my common sense tells me the Andes is but foothills, and the Alps is for children to climb”, I believe what got left out was, “The Colorado Rockies is the Marrow of the World”.
As a young romantic, Casablanca was my favorite flick. It still rates as a top all timer, but for me, it waxes and wanes between It’s A Wonderful Life and Jeremiah Johnson, and for many a year, now, it is JJ, all the way.
One is, “No man is poor who has friends”, at the end, and JJ is, “I’ve been to a town, Del”.
This movie is beyond words. There are great stretches WITHOUT words, and the scenery, the spirit of it, are just phenomenal. This movie is a part of my constitution, as well, friend. The first time I camped out in Yellowstone, I had to pitch a quick tent before nightfall in a site not for camping, owing to running low on fuel, not wanting to risk exiting the park into Silver City, I believe, Montana. Wamped up some beans and franks, headed to the Lamar River to wash the pot out–stopped, realizing I was in bear country (Griz), and went to bed. I woke early, went to do the washing, and heard grunting, and across the river were (counted in bunches) about 120 Buff, rolling about and mounting one another and such.
I swear, a tear nearly fell and rolled down my cheek, as I thought, same as Jeremiah did when Swan took off her dress, “Lord”. Give me a good horse and a Hawkin gun, and a good Native woman and the ability to build a damn cabin, and I could stay here forever.
PEACE and P.S., “And they say he’s out there still”.
Some of my favorites. My two faves in your post are actually in the original post – the one about the Rocky Mtns being the “marrow of the world” and “I’ve been to a town.”
My other favorite is “Ha? What trouble?”
I like this quote:
“They’ll cut you crotch to
eyeball with a rusty deer
I’ve been hiking the AT the last couple of days and one Quote from the movie has been stuck in my head, but I don’t know if I got it right. Bear Claw says to Jeremiah: “Many a man have ventured high up the mountain looking to git something from the mountain that it can’t give.” Like I said this thought or quote has been stuck in my head but I doubt I have it right.
Sounds close, but not quite right. I’ll have to look for that one. There’s just too much quotable stuff from that movie. Down trail!
i was around 13 yrs old fist time i seen it
51 now i watch it every chance i have …….
watchin it now
I wonder how many of the rabid fans are about that age. Of the four that I know, three of us are within a year of you and another is a couple years older. Hit us during the formative years I guess.
I’ve loved this film since my first viewing (saw a ton of great movies as a kid at the drive in, with my young folks, in the late sixties and seventies), but for my money, I need to watch this alone. I asked for it on DVD from my gal’s daughter’s one not too long ago Christmas, and though I was itching to watch it, I just felt it would be a blasphemy and a tragedy all in one, with ANYONE to talk over any part of it, or the phone to ring, or any kind of disturbance whatsoever.
There are stretches utterly lacking in dialogue, where the landscape inspires, or the stark solitude deserves full, rapt attention. I am not a patient man, per se, but I was patient enough to make sure the house was empty, before I enjoyed my gift.
Well, I recently turned 50 myself. Born in ’65 (when Jackson Browne was 17, I guess).
There ya go! And it took me a second, but yeah, that Jackson Browne song would have been a major high school anthem for both of us. I can still sing it. To the extent that I can sing anything at all, that is.
My best Buddy, Roy, and I frequently refer to lines in the movie, JJ. We were both born in ’55 and Its defined our lives and without saying so, we wouldn’t marry a woman who didn’t completely understand both the meaning and importance of this film. I just recently returned from a trip to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Glacier… Felt the presence of Jeremiah throughout. While in Red Lodge, I visited “Liver Eatin Johnson’s” cabin. This story is based on the truth, with a bit of mountain lore thrown in for our enjoyment.
Watch your topknot…
Yep. Watch yourn. I am so amazed at how much response this post has gotten and to find how many of us there are out there! All the responses here from strangers are one of those things that makes me love the internet. How ironic that it is Jeremiah Johnson that would connect us. I don’t think Jeremiah would have a Facebook account!
This my late husband and my favorite movie. We knew the script by heart, and very often we got to use it in daily living for humor and awe. I still watch it regularly. Not just for guys-we outdoor gals love it too!
That’s so sweet. Sounds like you found yourself a fine figure of a man ;-)
Watch your topknot
kin ya skin a grizz? i can skin …………… skin thatn pilgrim an i’ll gitchanother
Seriously! I forgot that one? The most famous, emblematic and oft-repeated quote from the whole damn movie! Thanks for the heads up Pat. I’ll have to get the exact quote and put it in its proper place above!
Watch yer topknot
I’m 53 and seen the movie too many times to count. And watch it any time I see it on. Lots of favorite quotes. Woman, I am your friend. We have graves to dig. When I’m hunting and the silence in the woods is defeaning(sp) I find myself thinking about JJ.
And I don’t have a Facebook, JJ wouldn’t either!
Me neither. I’m not sure where those icons come from actually… I thought I had anything like that turned off and just noticed they have numbers on them. I’m appalled though. How could a Jeremiah Johnson quotes page only get two shares on Facebook. More proof that I’ve made a good decision by opting out!
Watch yer topknot
when JJ and griz see the the first indian jj saw later in the movie… jj asks griz “what did he say” and griz says “he said your fishin’ has improved”
Another good one. I’ll need to watch it again with the subtitles on to get the exact transcription. I wonder if they transcribe the Blackfoot (is it Blackfoot?)
Great site here as I’ve wanted to find Del Gue’s lines but never have till now. He and Will Geer certainly helped the movie be a classic. I never tire of watching this movie. Both Pollack and Redford deserve huge kudos for this movie. I think it’s Redford’s best work.
JJ IS one of the top FIVE BEST westerns ever made.
Top five in no particular order.
1. Jeremiah Johnson
2. Man who shot Liberty Valence
3. The Searchers
4. Nevada Smith
I love Del’s lines, but especially the ones about the Rockies being the marrow of the earth. As a climber who has spent a lot of time in the Alps and the Rockies, I get a kick out of his comment that the “Alps is for children to climb.”
I have to say that I’ve never heard of Nevada Smith, but I’ll have to put it on the list. Personally, I would put Unforgiven on the list of greatest westerns. And High Noon too.
How bout,… Scar up and hair over,… was that in JJ?
Favorite movie of all time . Redford at his best . Try to get young people to watch it all the time . Love to see other people fell the same about movie . Keep your nose in the wind and your Eye along the skyline. 53 young!
Still lookin’ for the “Scar up and hair over” quote,…
Ride due west to the sunsets. Turn left at the Rocky Mountains.
Tom, Thank you for your efforts on this site. I just found it searching for a quote “keeping your nose in the wind and your powder dry”
Thank you for your service to our history!
Music is good as well scenarios are good think about this’s movie quite a bit so fortunate to be able to own a copy. Won’t make a difference hiding in the corn crib, some say your dead, others say your still out their. I personally think the best is the last without saying anything when paints himself red and Jeremiah extend hands and that look on Jeremiah ‘s face now that’s priceless. Mountain men what a breed apart from, any other. Native Americans are special people, we could all learn something from them. Enjoy the honeymoon Jeremiah
Ha ha! You’re welcome
Watch yer topknot John
“I want some proper food”
Oh yeah. That’s a real insider quote – you need to know the context
Thanks. Watch yorn. (your’n perhaps ?)
He just does this to aggravate me.
I was much the same myself.
Some folks say you’re dead on account of this. Some folks say you never will be…on account of this.
Pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Johnson. Your husband’s told me so much about you.
Take me three days to reach it. You’ll be there in… Hell, he’s there already.
And, for the record, I can’t watch the Jeffersons because I hate Bentley so much because of this movie. Religious asswipe! It deeply saddens me to think of how absolutely terrified Caleb must’ve been when he is killed. I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.
And, for the record, when people asked me what I thought of The Revenant,, I told them I liked it better when it was called Jeremiah Johnson
Thanks for the JJ quotes and also for your quip. I haven’t see The Revenant, but I still plan to steal your line if I get the chance.
I saw it in the Theater when it came out. Have watched it ever since especially with some Army buddies who were like minded. I had the soundtrack on LP and of course it got lost over the years. I paid almost $80.00 for the CD of the soundtrack a few years ago. Oh…The Revenant was a remake of “A Man in the Wilderness”, with Richard Harris (A Man called Horse, from that period as well). Jeremiah Johnson has not been remade…nor should it be. “Keep your nose in the wind, and your eyes on the skyline”.
Ah… this one slipped through without my seeing. I also saw it in the theater when it came out. I was in fifth grade I believe and it defined the future directions of our lives for my friend Geoff (Marines, not Army, BTW) and me. Sadly, though Jeremiah Johnson has not been remade, I recently learned it has been subjected to a sequel about Jeremiah’s sons going to Alaska, which is reputedly a pretty awful movie. I made the mistake of watching the Lord of the Rings movies and the Harry Potter movies. I won’t be watching the JJ prequel.
My favorite movie of all time. Two things I’d add. I think the sparse dialogue is part of what makes the movie great. As for quotes, all mentioned are worthy, though my favorite is when JJ asked Bearclaw about having a woman, to which he replies, “you mean a full time night woman”?
A lifetime ago I left home for college.
It was a small town and I settled in with a group of locals, 10 years my senior. They rode Harleys and drove WWII surplus Jeeps, and owned their own construction and repair businesses. Several times each year they took off for the Rockies with rifles and bowie knives, and came back with meat for the freezer (yep, they took the “tenderfoot” along with them). One flew a clunky single engine Cessna in and out of his pasture. His brother owned a small fly-by-night bronze foundry for western art, and that’s where I took a job to pay for schooling. I was a figurative sculptor.
I’d seen Redford as Jeremiah Johnson and thought to do a sculpture of a mountain man to sell in the galleries. Over a bottle of whiskey one night I mentioned it to my boss, and he quietly slid a book across the table to me and said “read that first”. It was Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson, by Raymond Thorp and Robert Bunker. I read the book, and I did the sculpture – barechested, buckskin breeks, bowie knife in a large fist. My boss and I cast several editions, and he proudly kept one on the mantel over his fireplace, alongside a kerosene lamp and an antique lever action Winchester.
In this fenced-in, newfangled world of opinionated truth and politically gelded academics, many have disparaged Thorp and Bunker’s book. I’m an old man now with a doctoral degree and years of historical scholarship published in multiple languages, and as I look at their book again I see solid research grounded in primary source accounts. It don’t get no better than that.
The poodle behind the house window always yaps at the coyote prowling past.
Jeremiah Johnson is a magnificently poetic work of art film about a magnificently fierce mountain man called liver-eatin’ Johnson.
Thanks for the great story!
For folks reading this, if you click Oliver’s name in the comment above, it will take you to his page and down at the bottom you’ll see Liver-Eatin’ Johnson!
Back in the mid 80s, I had moved to Utah and was there a couple of years. I ended up frequently snow skiing where much of the movie was filmed. At what would later become Robert Redford’s Sundance Ski Resort. Which is also a great place for hiking and climbing. One of the most beautiful places I have ever been. But when I was there the only real reason to “watch your top knot” would be weather related, such as avalanche. I need to go back there soon! Thanks for all the quotes!
Happy to be of service! And even if you don’t need to, watch yer topknot;-)
Myself and my two older brothers were treated to this movie in the theatre by my Dad. I’ll never forget the experience of seeing JJ on the big screen. I have a DVD of the movie that has seen multiple plays! My favorite: Del Gue’s parting shot………Love this! HERE’S A MAN for ya! I’m half horse, half gator, tougher’n a earthquake. I’ve got the prettiest gal, the fastest horse, and the ugliest dog this side of hell. I can out jump, out run, throw down, drag out and whip any man in old Kaintuck.
Sorry it took so long to notice this… I’ve moved 15 tons of gravel in the last few days for a house project (9 tons to go! 18 yards total). Anyway, another quote that I didn’t think of. While moving said gravel with a 24-year-old from up the street, I was telling him about JJ. I’ll have to watch it with him and grab a few more choice quotes.
Thanks for creating this page Tom, the great comments from those above , brought a tear to my eye.
What a brilliant film, I can’t imagine anyone else in the roles of JJ or that of Bearclaw.
Many of the lines are regularly used by my family, we live in Hertfordshire, England.
Favourite lines, The same dumb pilgrim that I’ve been hearing for 20 days & smelling for 3
And , What a full time night woman?
Let’s hope they never try and remake this classic
Thanks Derek and yes… I don’t have a problem with remaking Jumanji, but I don’t think JJ could ever be done better.
This is sooo cool. I’ve adored this movie since it was released. My life is filled with quotes from the movie. I repeat them relentlessly mostly to the deaf ears of the pilgrims in our society. Just last year, I mandated a family viewing. Well, mandate may be a little coarse. Requested is closer to what actually happened. My adopted daughter of 8 (sorry, maybe a little young for some folks) loves it. Talks about it constantly, and might just become a “mountain man”. I am in the process of starting a blog and website and I end my blog with “keep your eyes along the skyline and your nose to the wind….”.
Throughout my years, and my persistent muttering of quotes from the movie, every once in a while I will cross paths with a stranger upon hearing a quote will raise an excited finger and point at me. Jeremiah Johnson! To which we will spend a few minutes discussing our favorite parts of the story. So much fun to read the stories of all these guys and gals who enjoy this movie.
Couple of little things. “Grown particular” is correct, as you said. Jeremiah is cooking rabbit and Chris Lapp approaches inquiring about the food. To which Jeremiah asks him if he’s become picky in his choice of free food.
And, Del Gue says….they’ll split you, me and Caleb from crotch to eyeball with a DULL deer antler….
But, enough with the trite and on with my favorites.
I am Bear Claw Chris Lapp. Blood kin to the grizzly that bit Jim Bridger’s ass. ….. I know who you are, the same dumb pilgrim I’ve been listening to for 20 days and smellin for three. …. Your molestin my hunt . I had one in that thicket back there, ready to shake hands, til you came along.
…You two know each other!? …. He says you fish poorly.
I should stop now. Its one of my favorite movies and will be a classic forever. I just hope that if they do remake the film they get a part in the beginning right. Its one of my pet peeves, sorry. But if you head due west to the Rocky Mountains where the sun sets, and turn left you go to New Mexico, not Montana.
Anyway, thanks for doing what you’ve done to bring back fond memories, as the movie rolls in the background.
I believe the line is “Elk don’t know how many feet a horse have.” have, not has.
Hi Jim. Thanks for the comment. I believe it’s correct as it stands. That’s how I hear it. That’s the way the screenplay has it written. And of course, “has” is grammatically correct as well (horses have four feet, but a horse has four feet). I’m overdue for another watch though. Haven’t watched it yet in 2018! So I’ll keep an ear open next time through. Watch yer topknot
I beg to differ sir, sounds like have to me. I know it’s not grammatically correct, but what mountain man is concerned with grammar. “Cheyenne she were”, should be “Cheyenne she was”. Anyway, i have a question for you. When JJ gets back to discover Swan and Caleb slain. We see an arrow with what looks like Paints his shirt red’s mark on it. Do you think this is intentional and we are to believe that Paints his shirt red was the murderer of Johnson’s family? And if so, how could JJ make peace with him at the end? It bothers me.
Well give me a few weeks. I’m not home now. I’ll dig out the dvd when I get back. Because of course the screenplay is the screenplay, not necessarily what the actor actually said. As for the other, not sure there either. I never thought Paints was there personally, so the question would be did he send a war party with his token/calling card? Maybe so
I’ll have to agree with Jim on this one..It sounds like Bear Claw says “have” although subtitles print “has”.
My thoughts about Paints His Shirt Red. Legend has it that the Crow sent 18 or 19 braves to “settle” their dispute. As Del Gue comments around the fire. … Lucky they were Crow, Apache would have sent 50 at once.
This dispute took nearly 18 years to hash out. Maybe this is in “Crow Killer” also. Not sure, my memory is a little worse than bad.
Two thoughts to ponder. If Paints His Shirt Red was in the war party that took Swan and Caleb, he would have been finished off by Jeremiah. But only one brave made it out. Not Paints.
The other. Imagine 18 years of sleeping with one eye open. Personally, I would welcome the truce.
….There’s no laws for the brave ones, and no asylums for the crazy ones…..
I was stopping the film and using the subtitles to help, so that’s probably why I got that wrong. To be honest, i never thought anyone would read this post. I just wanted a list for me and my friend Rand. I can’t say how gratifying it is to found out how many JJ fans there are out there and how much that movie has influenced so many of us
As to the rest, I agree with Ben, but Jim’s question remains – is that meant to be Paints’ mark? Maybe it’s meant to be a tribal mark? I wonder who on the film crew even made that decision
I feel a little ashamed lurking around your website, although it gives me fond memories of my life and the paths of people who I have crossed, who like me and your other readers are so endeared to this story. If I may, there are so many who would never and will never read this on a computer…Waaagh!
One of those very people, who I met was a third generation rancher from eastern Colorado. His favorite and persistently quoted line from the movie was one of yours.. …..”Some folks like it, Farmers mostly!” Always announced in a western mountain man type drawl with a tinge of disdain, since he despised Farmers. Even though, he happily worked side by side with many “farmers” on a daily basis. One thing he held true and always will, is he never broke ground, because he was a rancher, not a lowly farmer.
The way we met was riding pen back at a sale barn in Colorado. I was muttering quotes, when chances arose. It was wet and sloppy in the spring. Cows were slipping, sliding and falling. Horses were having trouble. Cowboys were pissy. Mud and green stuff was flying everywhere. It was Spring down below. March maybe, I don’t believe April…. I looked over at him and said something profound like “this sucks”. He scowled sternly, with a sun weathered smirk and without losing pace, announced loudly “Some folks like it, farmers mostly!” To which I guffawed, pointed and said “Jeremiah Johnson”! This started a tumultuous relationship with one of the many grizzled mountain men that has so permanently carved out who I am today. Oh yeah, he called me Pilgrim from that day forward.
Thanks again Tom Lambert!
P.S. Your fine efforts have generated a quote or two right here that I feel are worthy of repeating. “The poodle behind the house window always yaps at the coyote prowling past”. Mr Mcrae.. Thank you for such a fine story and please allow me to regurgitate your witty prose from time to time.
The arrow in the doorway at the cabin after Swan and Caleb are killed appears to have the same markings as the arrow we see when Johnson first meets Paints His Shirt Red with Bearclaw (I haven’t tried to compare). I’ve never thought Paints His Shirt Red was there, but rather that he wanted to make sure Johnson knew where the attack came from, so had one of his braves leave his “calling card” as it has been called.
As to why Johnson goes after the raiding party, but doesn’t go after Paints His Shirt Red, I think he feels completely justified in killing the raiding party, as a direct result of their actions, and settled his score with them (all but one anyway). At the same time, he was an honorable man, well aware that he had disrespected Crow sacred ground, and knew full well that there may be consequences which he would have to accept. As the Crow warriors came one at a time, he killed in self-defense, wasn’t portrayed as an aggressor, and I don’t believe he would have felt justified in seeking out Paints His Shirt Red to kill him. As for the idea of Johnson “making peace” with Paints His Shirt Red, why not? Paints His Shirt Red seeks out Johnson, and makes the first gesture. I like to think that Paints His Shirt Red is simply and respectfully saying ‘this has gone on long enough’, to which Johnson, with his outstretched arm seemingly reaching out to Paints His Shirt Red, wholeheartedly agrees with.
Great to read all the quotes as I am again watching the movie.
One thing about movie that always puzzled me was how he came down stream on the Indian barge to get off and pick up goods necessary for a mountain man. Not sure where you can come down stream and see the Rocky Mountains if you haven’t been there yet. St. Louis would’ve been a likely dropping off point but there’s no mountains there.
No matter, The Revenant took place in South Dakota and there are no Rocky Mountains here either.
All right Jim and Ben, I haven’t had a chance to watch the movie again, but since you both agree, it must be so. I’ve updated it. Thanks for the input!
Keith, you know, I’ve always had the same thought. Why is he coming down river? That was always puzzling.
Gee i don’t know. A murdered family plus 18 years of crows making random attempts on his life, all for him and a group of soldiers respectfully walking through their burial grounds, might make Johnson harbor a bit of a grudge towards Paints. I say Paints got off easy.
Well, as I said, regardless of how respectful they were, Johnson knew it was a bad idea to go through the burial grounds, and that it would likely be trouble for him. He made the choice, or rather was pressured into it, again, because he was an honorable man in my estimation.
Regarding going after Paints, as the chief or leader of the Crow clan, he must have been a formidable warrior, so no guarantee of a favorable outcome if JJ did go after him, and, if he did kill him, that wouldn’t necessarily be the end of it. There’s never any attempt by Johnson to actively go after the Crow once he’d settled the score with the raiding party, so it seems pretty unlikely to me he was holding a grudge.
Since he preferred to live in the mountains rather than a town, being able to live there without the constant worry of an attack, the most logical decision would be to make peace after so long.
Wow! Gentlemen, I am honored that you have chosen to have this conversation on my crappy little blog!
My first thought to Jim’s last comment was to think that for about 100 years, Europeans cut each other to pieces because they disagreed as to whether the bread in the host was changed into Christ (Catholics), co-existed with the body of Christ (Lutherans) or that Christ was truly present, but spiritually, not materially (Reformed). I simplify, I know, but the point being that these matters easily become sufficient to war. And when you couple that with a people watching their lands being taken by foreign invaders, you can see how what might seem like a minor slight would, again, be cause for war. Especially since JJ led the US Cavalry through those lands.
But more importantly, Bill, your last sentence makes me think of my absolute favorite line from the entire movie. The one that rattles through my mind. The one that I wheel out every time I explain to someone that we have to drive two hours to get to a big box store and they ask whether or not we ever think of moving into town: “I’ve been to a town Del.”
Yes, both Johnson and Paints were honorable men, and i don’t think jj was a holding a grudge at first, but after countless attacks by the crow, maybe he should have been. JJ definitely broke the rules by taken the soldiers through, and he knew there would be some kind of pay back, but he and I both underestimated Paint’s vengeance. I just don’t think the punishment fit the crime. After JJ, Swan, and Caleb worked so hard to build the cabin, they made a great little home there in the mountains. JJ and Swan were getting along very well, who knows, maybe Caleb would have started talking. I guess i’m just a bit angry that Paint’s destroyed it all. But, if he hadn’t, the movie wouldn’t have been as good as it was.
Of course you’re right it would have been a lesser movie, but I also understand the sentiment. To me, everything after Swan and Caleb die feels like a long sad epilogue to a fundamentally happy movie about a bitter veteran who finds peace. But then he doesn’t. And finally, he does. But the first peace he finds is happy and the second one is melancholy. It’s hard not to want to see JJ get old in his cabin with his family.
The scalps that del gue puts on jj a saddle horn. Was wondering what tribe they were. Anyone know?
Del gue puts scalps on jjs saddle horn. Does anyone know what tribe the scalps belong to?
So a lot has been discussed in regards to paints his shirts response to jj and others trespassing through sacred burial grounds. As far as the Crow knew jj was the great warrior who avenged the crazy woman in the wolf tail valley. After all the Flathead asked jj this very question when he shows up with Blackfeet scalps on his saddle horn. The ones Del hue put there. Word of jjs exploits seems to have spread between tribes. Paints his shirt surely wound have had some fore knowledge of jj and his reputation which was what? Yes jj paid tribute/ hunting fee earlier by giving paints his shirt furs. But now with the scalps? Paints his shirt may have become leary of jj and felt justified of his harsh response.
I just remembered why i was searching for JJ quotes in the first place. It’s when Bearclaw says “A woman’s breast is the hardest rock that the almighty ever made, and i can find no sign, on it. Not sure what that means, does it mean that he just doesn’t understand women?
Yes, the Flatheads were thrilled with JJ when they thought he was responsible for the Blackfeet scalps. I wonder if the Crow disliked the Blackfeet as much as the Flatheads did?
I think That’s it in a nutshell. Bear Claw has a hard time figuring out women. Sign is hard to follow or track. Darn right. Get in line on that one bear claw. As far as Flat Head vs Crow vs Blackfeet. Could be the old adage the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
I think that’s it. Bear Claw has a hard time figuring out or tracking women. Get in line on that one Bear CLaw! Also maybe the
Blackfeet vs Crow vs Flathead is the old enemy of my enemy is my friend thing.
Keep in mind that the movie is loosely based on two books. One, a novel, “Mountain Man” by Vardis Fisher. The other, “Crow Killer, The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson”, by Raymond Thorp and Robert Bunker . Crow Killer is a more factual based book of which I took for absolute fact for years. Its not. Mountain Man is a novel. Just that, a wonderful tale about a mountain man in the Rockies.
Bear Claw. Of course doesn’t understand women. He also values them less than he values a good Hawken rifle. Since he traded his squaw whom he packed for 10 years for one. ….which leads into another couple of my favorites. “… meanest b**ch that ever balled for beads”. And “Didn’t put enough dirt down. Saw it right off.”
Remember the lessons Bear Claw gives JJ after the Grizzly Skinning lesson. He talks a little about the tribes and their natures. Blackfoot and Crow, mean and fearsome. Flathead and Ute gentle and peaceful.
Watch yer top knot.
Hey guys, first my apologies that some comments were not getting approved. I don’t usually get so any comments on my little blog. Not used to it. But if I turn pre-approval off, all manner of the worst spammers show up.
Anyway, I was going to ask people to put clothes one or two favorite quotes. My favorites are:
– the one Jim just quoted: “Saw it right off.” That one gets used a lot around the house.
– “I’ve been to a town, Del”
-Del’s soliloquy: “the Rocky Mountains is the marrow of the world” etc
Sorry…. I meant the quote Ben just mentioned
I like these: “You have a son, you need a wife. He says he’ll be very happy, i mean pre contentivic….. what is that word, voltreveal” and “Maybe you and the boy best come with me now, take you down to the judith, put you on a ferry”
So many great ones to choose from. Some of my favorites include “ mother Gue never raised such a foolish child “. “ Lord “. “ What’s he shouting at? “ and “ Yep Crow, fella by the of Paint his shirt red “. Funny how I use jj quotes every chance I get. Thanks and watch yer topknot.
“Besides, maybe she ain’t near bad” JJ-“I am sorry then” BC-that you look” BC-“You’re not likely to meet up with someone of my good nature” JJ-“snort”
I have a question. Swan’s father speaks French, why does Swan speak Flathead?
Jj You smelling them Blackfeet? Dg No I’m locatin my horse. Dirtiest animal this side a hell. Bc you two know each other? Jj i seen him once. He says you fish poorly. Bc oh boy are you sure that you can skin griz? Jj just as soon as you can find em. Bc E-heh E-heh E-heh heh heh.
Oops missed the “ Bc “ before “ he says you fish poorly. Also should be just as fast as you can find em. Not as soon as you can find em.
Question: When bear claw says “what’s on the spit? Does JJ say “grown particular “ or growd particular? I hear it as growd.
Sounds like grown to me.
Well, I don’t trust my notes necessarily now without a rewatch, but I recorded it as “grown” up above. Ben confirms that above as well in the comments.
I love that scene. “Ha? What trouble?”
I get a tingle up my spine just thinking of that. Then, of course, he asks what month it is, which always gets me. Perfect finish.
Tom, I feel the same way. It gives me chills to think about that scene and the interaction between them. So many things going on, my feeble grasp of the English language doesn’t allow me to describe it. The hardened old timer has finally approved of the green horn molesting his hunts, even though he’s surprised he’s still alive. The greenhorn is certain he should be accepted, although he’s still a little doubtful. He may not be totally accepted until Paints waves? What think? Some say he’s up there still.
Ben, I always hoped Paints gesture was a peace offering,an olive branch and JJs return wave was acceptance. But who knows for sure.
first comment,,, is,,, its,, grow,, in, not grown,, like,, growing particular,,,, not about feeding. 2nd comment, you forgot the best quote ever…. dale que’s rant at the end,”wheres you mule that kicks holes in the sky and shakes off it saddle, wheres your slavering wolf of the rolling prairie.. heres your old grizzer brown bear can clobber bark off a gum tree… theres a man for ya jeremiah johnson, , im half horse half gator and a touch of the earthquake,, i got the pretties gal, the fastest horse and the ugliest dog this side of hell,,, i can out run, out jump, throw down , drag out and whip any man in all kentucky…… how you been jeremiah ?
How can you pick one quote as the best! Too many good ones ;-) As for growin/grown, I’ll have to listen again, but the screenplay transcription I have says “grown” and that’s always how I’ve heard it.
“Ha, grown particular?” For sure my fave! And im pretty positive that’s the right quote. As in “have you become particular about what you eat since I last saw you?”
“this is big medicine”.
“I can whip my weight in wolverines!”
Ah… I just can’t pick *a* favorite. But there’s three I use all the time
Thanks for an interesting site. I really like this movie. The language and most quotes are so cool. I am working on a translation to Swedish. Can you help me with three sentences that I am not 100% sure of. So that I get it right. What do these sentences mean? Can you explain with other words?
1) Grown particular?
2) Many a child journeys this high to be different.
Many a child?… Does this mean “Many has an idea?”
3) Tryin’ to get from the mountains something
the natures couldn’t get them below
Shouldn’t we have “Planning or “Demanding” here instead? His not saying “tryin'”…
A Swedish translation? That is fantastic! I don’t think there’s anything particularly obscure about the passages you mention, so they should be translatable. The challenge, I think, for a translator is the flavor rather than the strict meaning. In other words, the language of the movie is meant to feel like the dialect of the long-gone West. So perhaps rural Sweden in the 1800s.
1. Grown particular.
This is just short for “Have you grown particular?” which means here “Have you become particular (i.e. picky) about what you eat?” In other words, “Sit down, shut up and join me.”
2 + 3 are part of the same scene. So let’s start with the strict meaning. “Many a child” just means “many children” which here means “many men,” but the connotation is that they come here (into the mountains) with perhaps childish ideas (or possibly many a child of God, or many a lost child or who knows exactly what he means here).
The wrong-headed idea they have is they come “trying” (or planning or demanding or expecting or attempting or whatever word you want) to find something they could not find below. The problem is, we don’t go into the mountains alone. We always bring ourselves. The mountain does not care why we came. The mountain is not there to help us get away from ourselves. The mountain has its own ways. The mountain teaches its own lessons, not the lessons you want it to teach. If you go into the mountains to get away from yourself, you will only be disappointed.
Thank you, Tom!
For the time you took to give me such an thoroughly and good answer. I understand Bear Claw better now.
Mountain man Chris Lapp is wise, funny and mysterious. We all have a lot to learn from guys like him.
It’s a pitty we rarely see or meet these guys nowdays… both on a screen and in real life.
I think thats one reason that makes the movie “Jeremiah Johnson” so special. At least for me.
love the movie. seen it 30 times !!! Thank you !!!
Thanks Phil… yep, it’s a great movie. I don’t think my mind works quite right without JJ rolling around in there somewhere
I’m an old fart, so youngish when the movie was made. I agree that many of the lines stay with us forever. In the same vein so does “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” with all of the “there’s two kinds of men” lines. I retired to Ecuador six years ago. I can tell you that Del’s “common sense” was wrong, the Rockies are foothills to the Andes, at least as regards height. But the Great Rocky Mountains are far more fearsome, and still today. Here in Ecuador you might run across (and I have on both two wheels and four) a group of Llama. No, they haven’t spit on me or attacked me. No snakes, wolves, snakes and not much for bugs. Too high I guess. So I guess “I are a mountain man.” I don’t care for the lowlands.
Cuencanolenny – you are of course right and Del is, of course, wrong. That’s part of why I love the line so much. I’m a lifelong mountaineer and for steep, difficult climbing, the Rockies are nothing compared to the Alps or the Andes. For that matter, the US Rockies play a second fiddle to the steep, loose, icy faces of the Canadian Rockies. But I still love that line
My wife has early onset dementia. She has her good days.. and bad days. But everyday she’s still with us is a blessing. I’ve already instructed the VA to inscribe on her grave marker: SHE WEREN’T NO TROUBLE
That is both sad and sweet. We lost my mom to Alzheimer’s in 2014. The end is no fun. I wish you all the strength and patience in the world, Rex. Watch yer topknot.
Myself and a few buddies saw this at the theaters when it came out… can’t tell you how many times some of went back to see it several times. The story and characters were great, but you got to give credit to the scenery and soundtrack. One thing that always bothered me was the ending when saw the chief and they gave a kind of wave… Left me wondering, was it a truce, a challenge, etc.? I like to think it was a truce among warriors. Apparently, I read the character it was based on did move out of the mountains and ended up in San Fransisco or something.
Same here. It is probably the only movie I ever saw multiple times in the pre-VCR days, not counting The Wizard of Oz, because it came on TV every year and my sister was a big fan. My friends Geoff and Billy and I were 9 years old when it came out and we pretty much wanted to model our lives after Jeremiah. My career choices at 9 were basically between Jeremiah, Aragorn and Gandalf. My wife says I ended up combining a bit of all three – live in the mountains in a national park, was a ranger (albeit not exactly the kind Aragorn was) and, though no wizard, was a “loremaster” (aka full-time historian for 20+ years) like Gandalf, with a knack for reading old manuscripts.
“You sure you can skin grizz?”
” Just as fast as you can find em’
“skin that one and I’ll get you another”
Tom thanks for keeping the wonder and wisdom of Jeremiah Johnson alive for all of us.
Is that one actually missing from my list? That’s criminal. I guess I left it off because it is *the* famous quote of the movie. Thanks for pointing that out.
Had an opportunity to tromp around the woods in western N.Y. for a few hours over the holidays. Thought of Jeremiah Johnson the whole time. Took my time and looked for sign the whole time. My perspective was courtesy of that movie. I owe it a lot.
Great film! One of the best! Yes, eminently quotable.
I too bought the LP to relive the film in my younger years. Upgraded to the magnificent Film Score Monthly CD edition, with stacks of extra music and demos, plus an informative colour booklet and track notes. No JJ fan should be without it. Long days and pleasant nights (not a JJ quote, but another obsession of mine, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series). :-)
My late husband’s favorite movie. I really need to get this line right..which is it?
Ride due west to the sunsets. Turn left at the Rocky Mountains. or Ride due west as the sun sets. Turn left at the Rocky Mountains.
Susan, I’m sorry to hear about your husband. Since I gather this might be for some sort of memoriam, I wanted to be sure I had this one right. I see various versions online, but to answer this one, my wife and I listened to that line about four times with our ears up to the speaker and we both agree that it is:
“Ride due west as the sun sets. Turn left at the Rocky Mountains.”
You’ll see others that say “till the sun sets” which only makes sense if he was only a few hours from the Rocky Mountains, in which case, you would already be in the Rocky Mountains, so to speak. I also see “to the sunset, which makes no sense.
My version is also the version you find on the Script-o-rama transcript of the screenplay, which I find to be consistently reliable.
By the way, I liken this first dialogue of the movie to a famous bit of John Muir dialogue. He arrived in San Francisco and was heading around the first of April, 1869. He stopped someone in the street and asked the best way out of town. The man asked Muir where he wanted to go. “To any place that is wild,” Muir replied. As recounted in his 1912 book, The Yosemite.
Came upon this blog by accident…was trying to find the Hatchetjack “will” as I had misquoted it in an email… I first saw JJ in England when it was first released..I am English….after something of a gypsy life and now ancient and retired I find myself ..not surprisingly on reflection living in Colorado on the Front Range of the Rockies not far from the “real” South Park and the amazing vista as one peaks on Kenosha Pass….after 20 years up here I still gasp at it all and the JJ theme song resonates at every turn…..
Thanks for sharing. Cool story. Jeremiah knows no borders.
Skin thatin Pilgrim and I’ll get you another!
Cocky for a starvin Pilgrim
Meanest bitch that ever balled for beads
“You are molesting my hunt” my buddy and I would say this all the time when we were trying to hit on women in the bar and one of us would interfere.
That’s funny, I just said that yesterday. There was a guy fishing in the creek in the only good swimming hole and we were talking and I said, “Well, I’d take a swim if I wouldn’t be molesting your fish?”
Can’t see why nobody mentioned “can’t cheat the mountain.” That holds true today.
Indeed. That should be on the list, though I usually quote a similar line from earlier in the movie where Bearclaw says, “The mountain’s got it’s own ways.”
It’s “proper width & adventurous spirit” of a young man. “Width” meaningful stout hearted, “has sand,” sturdiness, solid, can take a licking; that sort of thing. “Wit” wouldn’t come into play as it was a hard, grim life. I recently bought “mountain man” written by Vardis Fisher, the book used as a foundation for the JJ movie. Poetic book, nature loving, but the connection is obvious. JJ was a young man of proper width in order to go through what he experienced & be able to come out while on the other side. Thanks, nice site, fun. I saw JJ in ‘72 at a theater, I can’t say that it changed my life but it confirmed my values.
Jeremiah Johnson is one of my favorite movies. There is so much to like about it. Sydney Pollack is one of my top directors. Excellent cinematography, wonderful music score, just the right quality and amount of dialogue ( Pollack was a quality director who knew when to shut up and let the vision on the screen do the talking…and the beautiful landscape of southern Utah do a lot of the talking!). I think it is Robert Redford’s best work, and Will Geer and Stephan Gierasch with show stealing performances. And who among us wasn’t in love with Delle Bolton???
There are so many great quotes from this movie…they’ve been recounted here, so I won’t belabor it. Lots of wisdom in this dialogue.
Like many on here, I am around 60, and I first saw the movie as a young teenager. It made quite an impression that stuck with me to this day.
I am a fan of the mountain man genre, and another movie I enjoy is The Mountain Men starring Charlton Heston and Brian Keith. It is not nearly of the quality of JJ, but it is still fun to watch and contains some good dialogue too…. “… Well I was killed, of course!”
Great site…enjoyed reading it.
Watch your top knot!
My favorite is when JJ asks BC if he’s ever been lost, BC says never lost, been a might confused for a month or two.
The opening song and its lyrics always brings tears to my eyes! Knowing the amazing heart-felt movie that follows those perfectly poetic descriptive lyrics always creates an emotional experience for me while watching the opening sequence. No matter how many times I’ve seen it. Good to know there are many brothers and sisters out there. Thank you.
Ride due west as the sun sets, turn left at the Rocky Mountains
All you need to know about life can be found in this movie. My friend Chuck and I are nearing 70. We’ve seen too much and done too much, but the truth of this movie endures. One of our favorite quotes from Jeremiah himself, “Ought to have been different.”
“Elk don’t know how many feet a horse has”
Another classic. I think I used that just the other day in fact.
Mr. Lambert, “You’ve done well!”
Like many of the others, I’ve seen this movie too many times to count. Bits and pieces of movie dialog creep into the conversation every time our families get together or we end up on a deer or elk hunt. Many of us hunt with traditional muzzleloaders and black powder, still. It’s to the point that sons and daughters, and grandsons and granddaughters have seen it and join in with their favorite quotes.
I believe the best thing about your blog is that it not only draws us all together, but it also encourages and challenges us to watch the movie again and again, checking for the quotes we’ve missed or that we may think we know better than someone else who posted a comment.
One of my favorite parts is when Jeremiah is lying on the ground after being shot at and is watching his horses reaction in order to tell where his attacker is and when he’s about to attack again.
Jeremiah Johnson has topped my “favorites” movie list since I first saw it. Others include “The Cowboys” “The Shootist” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” And, for laughs it’s hard to beat “The Mountain Men” with Charlton Heston and Brian Keith.
Thank you, and all the best of the season to you and all the other JJ fanatics out there!
Thanks Jerome. And you’re right, that is the best thing about this collection of quotes. I really had no idea how many of us were in this club!
I have never been a John Wayne fan in general, but The Cowboys has always been a favorite. When we met and we were rising in the pitch dark for long climbing routes, my wife never knew why I would always say, “Come on! We’re burning daylight.” We finally watched The Cowboys together and then she got the joke.
This has been my favorite movie for years. I just discovered this blog and had the greatest time reading all the comments. One phrase I often use that seems to have been missed is when Del Gue says to JJ… “I TOLD MY MAMMY AND PAPPY I WAS GOING TO THE MOUNTAINS TO BE A MOUNTAIN MAN… THEY LOOKED LIKE THEY HAD BEEN GUT SHOT”. I use that quote often.
Oh no, Greg, I wouldn’t miss that one. It’s in there. I quote it all the time. I have a hyphen so it’s “gut-shot” not “gut shot” or “gutshot”. Search on that and you’ll find it. Having done a fair bit of mountaineering in the Alps (where the mountains are much bigger and steeper than the Rockies), I always loved the part where Del says: “I ain’t never seen ’em, but my common sense tells me the Andes is foothills and the Alps is for children to climb.”
And of course, just before that: “I says ‘Mother Gue, the Rocky Mountains is the marrow of the world.’ And by God I was right.” I say that a lot while out in the Sierra – “The Sierra is the marrow of the world.” And by God, I’m right.
Not sure if it was mentioned yet but the movie credits state that the film is based on the book, Mountain Man, by Vardis Fisher. My gal pals and I saw the film when it was first released in ’72 (we were in high school). We wanted more…so we all checked out the book from the library, one gal at a time.
For me, the woman whose family was killed struck me hard: she was crazed from grief and fear but fierce in her conviction to stay on the land. Not a surprise that I named my daughter after her…Kate.
The Vardis Fisher book has come up a couple times in the comments. I have not read it (yet), nor have I read Crow Killer, which seems to also formed some of the source material for the movie. It’s on the list… along with a thousand other books.
Just found this site. My favorite movie of all time…at least 200 times viewed. Everyone has captured my favorite lines, so won’t struggle to find more…but a powerful, thought provoking movie, rich in character and detail…amazing…
You missed the best
Ever get lonesome
A full time night woman
I could never find any tracks in a woman’s heart
Carried me a squat for 10 years Cheyenne she wore pilgrim mean ass bitch that ever balled for beads I lodge pulled her that deadwood Creek in trade her for a hawk and gun Now don’t get me wrong I love the woman I surely do I swear the woman’s breast is the hardest rock that the Almighty ever made and I could find no signs on it
74 and still have 2 .50 calHAWKEN front stuffers……been to JOHN’S grave site in CODY WY. next to Buffalo Bills grandson.
From Quebec,long time ago. lived in Pocatello and lot of kin in UTAH.
Now retired and still hund bear where I live on VANCOUVER Island B.C.
Just a great movie I can quote every word…drives my wife and ex. wives mad…..
back then,being ”crazy” was an asset !!! WASATCH CHARLIE
I got a fine horse and saddle under me.
‘Meanest bitch that ever balled for beads’ kinda rolls off the tongue too, lol. I’m 52 now, this movie and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were basically scripture in my family. We quoted those two constantly to each other. Off the top of my head i would say they are my two favorite movies of all time. Thanks for this post. Loved it and all the comments
Thank you for the blog that I just stumbled across and enjoyed reading. JJ, in my book, is perhaps the best movie of all time and every spoken line is well-crafted and meaningful.
The following isn’t a movie line, but a memorable portion of the theme song that I have always liked:
“The way that you wander is the way that you choose;
the day that you tarry is the day that you lose.
Sunshine or thunder; a man will always wonder,
Where the fair wind blows?”
Cool site, Tom. Thanks.
I don’t believe I saw this quote, but apologies if I missed it: “l got no truck with them Blackfeet. l plan to be here a long time and l do not want them down on me.”
I like to use that when my wife or any number of my immediate family, is thinking about doing something that might draw undue attention to me. Usually it’s my wife wanting to complain about something. Lol.
Thanks again from a rabid JJ fan.
Oh yeah, those are good words to live by too
I’m sure film students and such don’t think it’s the best movie of all time, but for those us who were captivated by it (especially at a young age), I think it has no equal. There’s no other movie I’ve watched so many times.
Thanks for the comment. As a matter of principle, I have not tracking on this site. No idea how many visitors I get or anything like that. So the comments are quite a sort of pleasure for me too – lines I’ve forgotten, but also just knowing that people got a smile out of it!
There is a JJ sound track, it is good and reminds me of the movie while I listen….
“Can’t figure out why ten people down there are feedin on pork when they could be feedin on elk”.
Bear Claw Chris Lapp…..using this quote a few times this week as I am going bow hunting for elk next week.
My son and have watched this movie countless times. Saw it in the theater on perhaps 1973 with a high school girlfriend. Best movie ever. They aren’t made like this very often.
Del is buried to his neck. Jeremiah asks if the Indians did it. He answers. “Twerent Mormons”
Hawk! Going for the Musselshell. Take me a week’s ride … he’ll be there in … hell, he’s there now.
In 1985 I took a job in South Bend, Indiana and moved there from Colorado. I swear I watched Jeremiah Johnson every weekend for 5 years. I was in tears being in Indiana away from my Rocky Mountains. The movie tops my all time list of favorites. I could almost quote the entire moving in my head back then. Have not watched it much recently but finding this blog lit the fire again. I am closer to my Rocky Mountain roots, Kansas, than before but still not there. Miss the mountains of Colorado but not the crowds on the trails. To be honest, I called in sick at work to see the release of “Jeremiah Johnson” at the theater in 1972. Bought it on VHS when I got my first player, then DVD. One superb motion picture and made me a fan of Sydney Pollock and Duke Callaghan forever.
Del Gue sniffing….Jeremiah….you can smell those savages ? Del Gue…..No. I’m trying to locate my horse. Filthiest animal this side of hell.
Del to Jeremiah….if you turn down this gift they’ll split you, me, Caleb and the horses from crotch to eyeball with a dull deer antler
I think a lot of us feel that way. I am lucky enough to live in the heart of the mountains these days (the Sierra Nevada, not the Rockies). We’re far from services. Internet is horrible. People ask me, “Were it worth the trouble?” I say, “Ha? What trouble?”
I think of this scene all the time. Most times when I see a hawk on the wing, which is fairly often, I think of how long it will take it to get to the Musselshell… even though I’m over 1,000 miles away.
Met a SF soldier a few years back called Jeremiah Johnson. I asked him if he was named for the movie. He laughed and said he was. I heard he was killed in Africa a few years back. Sad, but he should be remembered. I only knew him in passing but he seemed like a good joe.
You’ve done well, Del.
I was always fond of:
…..acted like they wuz gutshot……they said , “Son, make yer life grow here. Here’s where the peoples is!”
Stays long this high
…..she never did get used to Hatchet Jack
You’ll do well, Del
Great hunter, yes? YES!!!
Can you skin griz?
She wer’nt no trouble
Never did take him to Holly….
,,,,Lodge-poled her at Dead Wolf Creek and traded her fer a Hawkin gun!
And many more…they’re all priceless
Good the Bad and the Ugly
3:10 to Yuma
Great platform here! Thanks for the memories
PS. That’s Tanya Tucker in the corn crib
…..Sunshine or thunder, a man will always wonder, where, the fair wind blows…
Like everyone else, I’ve seen this movie more than any other. I saw it the first time when I was 13 with my Grandpa. I was only a year old when it was released. I don’t care how many times it’s on, I have to watch. Robert Redford was perfection. It’s not only the words he says…but the non verbal language. His movements, his grunts. Jeremiah has my heart! And yes….I believe he is still up in those mountains!
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I came upon this site looking for the Del soliloquy for no particular reason it just popped into my head. So great to see others who feel the same way about the film. I was born in ’54 and the movie still haunts me to this day. Many times I’ve used the “never lost, been a might confused for a month or two” line when driving with the wife, and many others. A true masterpiece that should NEVER be remade. You cannot improve on perfection.
Reginald – I had never thought it might be remade. The prospect makes me shudder. Without Geer and Redford, it just couldn’t be done.
Other parts would also be undoable. I will preface this by saying that I am a lefty liberal, I have friends from local tribes who were dispossessed of their lands and believe it is unconscionable what we did as a country to the Indians (which is the moniker the local tribes prefer, before anyone gets upset – every time NPS uses it on their Facebook, as requested by local tribes, someone calls them racist) and I am upset by even mild manifestations of racism.
With that out of the way, I would worry that if the film were remade, it would be impossible to show the range of white opinion about the Indians that we see in the 1972 film. And yet, the film is really one of the most sensitive, nuanced, rich and beautiful portrayals of Indian culture ever to reach film, portraying the diversity of tribes, the web of interactions, the range of white perceptions and so forth. Del Gue is so politically incorrect that I don’t think he could exist in a Hollywood film today. He would have to be made into a one-dimensional villain. Some of his comments smart when I see the film now. It’s hard to hear them, but they ring true to how people saw things then (I suppose actually on the mild end). But I think this is one of the purposes of art (and this film is art). If art does not trouble you a little, what is the purpose?
I discovered JJ at the dollar theater while in Ann Arbor in 73-75. A student with little money and dreams of getting out of the city, I escaped to that theater many times one of those winters, mostly for JJ. Over the years I’ve rewatched it many times and can’t resist quoting it when it seems to fit. . .usually get looked at strangely. But sometimes another fan grins and quotes back. Trying to top one email buddy in particular recently, I searched JJ quotes and discovered this site. Thank you. There went another hour. Have to send link to email buddy as it’s reassuring there are many of us. Watch your topknot.
Sunshine or thunder, a man will always wonder.
Where the fair wind blows.
I stumbled upon your blog looking for a quick quote and spent my morning coffee hour reading the ENTIRE post. I, too, am a huge JJ fan…and this made me want to jump back under the covers and watch it yet again. Instead, I ordered Crow Killer and Mountain Man to satisfy my thirst. Temporarily.
Among JJ, my all time favorites include:
Of Mice and Men
The Outlaw Josey Wales
Legends of the Fall
Watch’n my topknot. You do the same!
I’ll have to put Legends of the Fall on my watchlist – I’ve heard the title, but that’s it. Never seen it.
I first saw this movie with my dad in the theater. Been one of my favorite movies of all time. Loved it so much my son is named Jeremiah Caleb. Favorite quote would be “Can’t cheat the mountain pilgrim. Mountain got its own ways.
True Grit w/John Wayne
Magnificent 7 either one
God’s and Generals
My son and I have watched this movie countless times and it is our favorite. He’s 23 now and everytime we part I say watch your top knot, and he always replies, yep watch yorn. I always get choked up.
That’s awesome Mark. Now you watch your topknot!
Years ago I bought a prop ( Trap ) from the movie, it is one of my prized items.
I lost my partner and best friend of 25 years this summer. To honor his memory, I watched JJ on his birthday–a movie knew by heart. He’d make his way to the kitchen and ask, “What’s on the spit?” Or I’d notice his new haircut and he’d say, “Fine figure of a man, yes?That is all you need to know (big grin) for now!” I miss him so much and watching JJ again brought me great comfort. He also quoted A River Runs Through It, chapter and verse. I recommend it, too.
I’m so sorry you lost your fine figure of a man (a phrase that gets used in this house a lot too). I also like A River Runs Through It, but I discovered that as an adult, so it did not have the same sort of impact.
I did not read every comment (but lots of them), and was surprised/impressed to see how they’ve continued for years. Great movie that I’ve seen many times, both on my own and with my late wife, but not for awhile, now. I am so excited that my current wife has never seen it, as now I get to introduce her to it, with the bonus of me getting to view it once again. Cheers.
I know! I always thought it was an obscure movie and I only made this page because one friend and I communicate by using JJ quotes all the time, so I thought it would be fun for me and him. It has turned out to be a great joy to find out how 50 years after the fact, there are still so many people who are moved by the film. It’s been a privilege to connect with you all!
I have not tracking or analytics on this website, so I literally do not know if it gets one visitor a month or a thousand (I know it’s not a million!). The only way I know people visit at all is the comments, so it’s been fun to see this page continue to speak to people year after year. Our assignment: introduce JJ to the younger generation. Most off the commenters seem to be around my age (born in the early 1960s). It should be a film that would speak to Millennials who find themselves disillusioned by a world of computer screens.
Watch your topknots!
This movie touched my soul at such a deep level even though I first watched it as a young girl. All the comments you all have made are like coming home. I was thinking of what scene in the movie caught me up the most and I came to the one where the boy and Swan and Jeremiah were playing and then later when Jeremiah noticed her face was reddish and she told him it was because of his beard. It was so stunning to me that right after that he shaved off his beard….for her! My first experience of a man responding with such kindness for a woman. Gotta go watch it right now.
I think that’s a lot of the appeal of the movie – Jeremiah is fundamentally a noble person.
Wonderful …unexpected read right here.
This movie is timeless. My parents watched it and my dad was so moved he named his 4th child after jeremiah. My dad shared a few movies with me and the really are all timeless. Not like jj . My son in law and I connect thru this movie. So good every one should watch this movie
My best friend / brother by another mother, Bill, and I quote this movie frequently. It is not surprising that this blog unearthed so many fans of the movie. To me, it is easy to poke holes in the storyline but to do so would entirely miss the near perfect depiction of a fabled mountain man. I love this movie. It distills the essence of being a man’s man into a believable story – and it has a happy enough ending. Long live the tale, and the men who believe what it says. He’s up there still…
Oh, of course you’re right that a lot of the story is absurd, but we aren’t in it for a documentary, are we? And for that matter, we don’t like Jeremiah because he’s a killer. I have no aspirations to hurt anyone (in fact, I aspire to hurt no one as much as possible). To me, it has always been more about the feeling of being and inspiration to be a free and independent human being with a deep connection to the land.
“hawk” “he’ll be going for the mussle shell” “it would take me a weeks ridin’ to get there and…..hell, he’s there already”
What a blast reading your blog! I have and always will love this movie since I first saw it the summer before the Army (1973). It was a spiritual experience for this flatlander. Post army I moved to the west slope of Colorado. Had my head full of JJ adventures to live. Thanks so much for creating and maintaining this site. I feel like I’ve met a bunch of new friends! Watch your topknots!
Why’s he shouting?
Scared a ya!
He wants to know if you be the brave warrior who avenges the crazy woman in the Wolf Tail Valley. She’s big medicine. So be you if you be that man!