Best Jeremiah Johnson Quotes

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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 quoting Jeremiah Johnson at me all the time, which is pretty damn cocky of him 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.

By the way, I’ve seen Jeremiah Johnson more than any other movie. If you haven’t seen it, you need to, especially if you like the outdoors. And if you’ve seen the movie a few times, you’ll know that these first two paragraphs include two references to the movie already.

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.”

“And I’m….”

“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 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?”

“Grown particular?”

“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?”

“Griz.”

“Ha. Griz.”

“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?”

“Ha… yuh.”

“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.”

112 Responses to “Best Jeremiah Johnson Quotes”

  1. 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.

  2. Mitch Davis

    I have watched Jeremiah Johnson over 200 times my highscool quote was keep your nose in the wind and your eye along the skyline.

  3. rebecca L

    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.

  4. Geoff Akey

    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.

  5. corbin hubbard

    It’s not “Grown particular”,

    “What’s on the spit?”
    “Grown particular?”
    “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.”

  6. 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).

  7. Chris

    JJ: “Great White Hunter, yes…yes?”
    Swan: “Yes.”

    JJ: “Fine figure of a man, yes?”
    Swan: “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”.

  8. 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?”

  9. I like this quote:
    Del:
    “They’ll cut you crotch to
    eyeball with a rusty deer
    antler.”

  10. Allen Rutherford

    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.

  11. 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!

  12. jim boyce

    i was around 13 yrs old fist time i seen it
    51 now i watch it every chance i have …….
    watchin it now

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Well, I recently turned 50 myself. Born in ’65 (when Jackson Browne was 17, I guess).

  16. 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.

  17. 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…
    Watch yourn

  18. 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!

  19. Ruth Ann

    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!

  20. pat flores

    kin ya skin a grizz? i can skin …………… skin thatn pilgrim an i’ll gitchanother

  21. 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

  22. Chris W.

    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.

  23. Chris W.

    And I don’t have a Facebook, JJ wouldn’t either!

  24. 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

  25. 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”

  26. 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?)

  27. wally58

    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
    5. Tombstone

  28. 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.

  29. How bout,… Scar up and hair over,… was that in JJ?

  30. Tim Scott

    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!

  31. Still lookin’ for the “Scar up and hair over” quote,…

  32. bumpkin

    Ride due west to the sunsets. Turn left at the Rocky Mountains.

  33. don schaefer

    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”

  34. 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

  35. Charlie M.

    He just does this to aggravate me.

    I was much the same myself.

    You’re him…aintcha…him?

    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.

  36. Charlie M.

    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

  37. 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.

  38. 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”.

  39. 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.

  40. Bill Huber

    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”?

  41. 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.

  42. 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!

  43. Bill Kline

    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!
    Bill

  44. Danny King

    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.

  45. 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.

  46. Derek P

    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

  47. Thanks Derek and yes… I don’t have a problem with remaking Jumanji, but I don’t think JJ could ever be done better.

  48. 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.

  49. Jim Howland

    I believe the line is “Elk don’t know how many feet a horse have.” have, not has.

  50. 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

  51. Jim Howland

    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.

  52. 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

  53. Ben Farmer

    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…..

  54. 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

  55. 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

  56. Ben Farmer

    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.

  57. Bill Huber

    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.

  58. Keith Beck

    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.

  59. 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!

  60. Keith, you know, I’ve always had the same thought. Why is he coming down river? That was always puzzling.

  61. Jim Howland

    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.

  62. Bill Huber

    Jim,

    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.

  63. 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.”

  64. Jim Howland

    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.

  65. 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.

  66. Doug Goodnuff

    Del gue puts scalps on jjs saddle horn. Does anyone know what tribe the scalps belong to?

  67. Doug Goodnuff

    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.

  68. Jim Howland

    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?

  69. Jim Howland

    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?

  70. Doug Goodnuff

    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.

  71. Doug Goodnuff

    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.

  72. Ben Farmer

    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.

  73. 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

  74. Jim Howland

    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”

  75. Doug Goodnuff

    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.

  76. Jim Howland

    “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”

  77. Jim Howland

    I have a question. Swan’s father speaks French, why does Swan speak Flathead?

  78. Doug Goodnuff

    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.

  79. Doug Goodnuff

    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.

  80. Doug Goodnuff

    Question: When bear claw says “what’s on the spit? Does JJ say “grown particular “ or growd particular? I hear it as growd.

  81. 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.

  82. Ben Farmer

    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.

  83. Doug Goodnuff

    Ben, I always hoped Paints gesture was a peace offering,an olive branch and JJs return wave was acceptance. But who knows for sure.

  84. 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 ?

  85. 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.

  86. Cody Campbell

    “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!”

  87. Ah… I just can’t pick *a* favorite. But there’s three I use all the time

    1. “Ha? What trouble?” That’s really contextual and you have to know the movie, but I just love Redford’s delivery and my wife knows what it means when I say it.
    2. “Saw it right off.” Again, you have to know the movie, but I pull that one out and use it all the time. Even my wife uses that one sometimes now.
    3. Del’s long thing about telling his parents he wanted to be a mountain man. I’ve spent a lot of time mountaineering in the Alps, so I just love to say “I ain’t never seen ’em, but my common sense tells me the Andes is foothills and the Alps is for children to climb.”
    4. And I realize I can’t even stick to my three faves. I have to add “I’ve been to a town, Del.” Because I live an hour’s drive from the nearest stop light and grocery store and two hours from the nearest city with national brands (Target, Wal-Mart, etc), but I have lived in cities. I prefer it out here. So when someone asks if I find it inconvenient living out here, I say “I’ve been to a town, Del.”
  88. Hi Guys!
    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

    Tryin’?
    Shouldn’t we have “Planning or “Demanding” here instead? His not saying “tryin'”…

    Thanks
    Håkan

    Sweden

  89. 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.

  90. 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.

    Thanks
    Håkan

  91. Philip Robinson (Dap/ Room 156)

    love the movie. seen it 30 times !!! Thank you !!!

  92. Thanks Phil… yep, it’s a great movie. I don’t think my mind works quite right without JJ rolling around in there somewhere

  93. 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.

  94. 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

  95. 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

  96. 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.

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