August 8, 2017

History on the Lawn at the Historic Adams House: Hugh Glass: Grizzly Survivor

DEADWOOD – Deadwood History, Inc. and the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission will host a presentation by author and historian James McLaird at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, August 18, 2017, at the Historic Adams House. The event is wheelchair accessible. Please feel free to bring your lunch.

James McLaird will present the story of Hugh Glass, noting how the legendary tale emerged, but also commenting about the movie, The Revenant, and how the actual Hugh Glass of history is different from that described in popular biographies, fiction, and film. He will relate how the first stories about Glass and his mauling by the grizzly bear in 1825, 1830, 1840, and the 1850s changed and added new facts, and how writers such as John G. Neihardt, Frederick Manfred, and Michael Punke made him even more heroic in their poetry and fiction. McLaird also looks at the grizzly bear itself, examining popular sentiments towards the creature that led to its near-extinction.

James McLaird is a retired professor emeritus from Dakota Wesleyan University where he taught history for 37 years. He was born in Lake Benton, Minnesota, and graduated from high school in Miller, South Dakota. After receiving his B.A. at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota, he did graduate work for one year at Boston University School of Theology and three years at the University of Wyoming, where he completed his M.A. Although interested in many aspects of history, McLaird has specialized in the history of South Dakota and the American West. He has published numerous articles on South Dakota history, including an examination of east river/west river differences, the legend of the “white Mandan Indians,” and Calamity Jane. Twice, he received the Schell Award for the best article in South Dakota History. In 2012, he received the Robinson Award for lifetime achievement from the South Dakota State Historical Society. His book Calamity Jane: the Woman and the Legend was named “Best Non-Fiction Book Published in 2005” by Westerners International and was released in a paperback edition in 2012. The South Dakota State Historical Society published McLaird’s Wild Bill Hickok & Calamity Jane: Deadwood Legends in 2008. His most recent work, Hugh Glass: Grizzly Survivor, was published in 2016. Currently, McLaird is working on a biography of Wild Bill Hickok.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, Deadwood History, Adams-Mastrovich Family Foundation, A&B Business Solutions, Celebrity Hotel, and the Deadwood Chamber & Visitors Bureau.


We inspire the global community by preserving and celebrating the cultural heritage of Deadwood and the Black Hills in the context of the American West through exceptional exhibits, innovative educational programs and access to extensive collections in unique settings.

Adams Museum, Days of ‘76 Museum, Historic Adams House and
Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center (HARCC)

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.