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Liver-Eating Johnson

Article #102 • Written by Alan Bellows

Liver-Eating Johnson c. 1876
Liver-Eating Johnson c. 1876

From the cloudy reservoir of history it is often difficult to separate legend from reality, and such is the case with the story of the infamous American mountain man John Johnston. It is certain that throughout his life he was known by many names, but most famously he came to be known at the time as "Crow Killer" and "Liver-Eating Johnson."

It is said that he earned these names through his penchant for killing Crow Indians, then cutting out and eating their livers; a symbolic way of completing a revenge slaying. His personal war against the Crow tribe was an errand to avenge the murder of his wife, who had been killed by Crow warriors in 1847.

John Johnston was born sometime around 1824 as John Garrison, though little is known of his early life. Some say that he joined the navy as a young man to fight in the Mexican American War, but deserted after striking his superior officer during an unknown disagreement. In any case, when he was aged about twenty years he changed his name to John Johnston and headed west to become a hunter and fur trapper, setting out with Old John Hatcher as his guide.

Hatcher-- an experienced mountain man of some repute-- took Johnston to his cabin on the Little Snake River in northern Colorado. There, he taught Johnston the trapping, hunting, and survival skills which a mountain man needed in order to live and profit. Johnston caught on quickly, proving handy with his .30 caliber Hawken rifle and Bowie knife. When Hatcher quit the mountain-manning trade several years later, Johnston took over the cabin and set out for the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, where a year earlier a Flathead Indian sub-chief had offered his daughter to Johnston in a trade. Johnston made the exchange, and he and his new wife set off to return to his cabin on the Little Snake River.

During the journey of several weeks, Johnston had his wife begin to teach him the Salish language of her tribe out of respect for her, and he taught her how to use a rifle so that she might hunt to feed herself during the winter while he was away. Once they arrived at the cabin in early Autumn, Johnston spent the rest of the season putting together an ample supply of dry goods for her winter's stay, and set out to do his trapping.

When he returned to his cabin in the following Spring, he was met with a gruesome scene. The remains of his wife-- little more than bones after lying exposed for months-- were lying in his cabin's open doorway. It was clear that she had been the victim of a Crow hunting party. Even worse, amongst her bones was a smaller skull... that of his unborn child. She had been about seven months' pregnant when she was killed.

Soon the scalped bodies of Crow warriors began to appear throughout the Northern Rockies and the plains of Wyoming and Montana. Each had had his liver cut out, and presumably eaten by the killer. Eventually other mountain men and Indians learned of Johnston's ongoing vengeance slayings, and he soon became known as "Liver-Eating Johnson" (dropping the "t" in "Johnston"). Also known as "The Crow Killer," he was waging a mortal, solitary battle against the whole Crow tribe, and no Crow warrior was safe from his wrath.

Many deaths followed. In time, the Crow decided to hand-pick their twenty best warriors and set them on a mission to hunt down and kill Johnston. How the battle played out, no one knows, but not one of the warriors would return.

Johnston's killings continued for years, and the Crow seemed helpless to respond. But one winter, as Johnston was traveling over five hundred miles to visit his Flathead kin, he was ambushed by a group of Blackfoot warriors who intended to present him to the Crow for a handsome reward. The Blackfoot overtook Johnston and captured him, placing him in a teepee and binding him with leather straps. A young warrior guard was placed just outside. But Johnston turned out to be an unmanageable prisoner.

Inside where he couldn't be seen, Johnston eventually managed to chew through the leather straps which bound him, and he slipped out of the exit. When he confronted the guard outside, Johnston-- who was a large man of about six feet and two hundred pounds-- landed a devastating blow to the man's nose before he was able to act. Johnston wasted no time in taking the warrior's knife, which he used to saw one of the Indian's legs off at the hip. Armed with the leg as a blunt instrument and with the warrior's knife, Johnston managed to fight his way out of the Blackfoot camp and make his escape into the woods.

Bronze statue of Johnson over his grave in Cody, Wyoming.
Bronze statue of Johnson over his grave in Cody, Wyoming.

As Johnston began the two hundred mile journey back to his cabin, the guard's leg proved to be useful as more than just a weapon. He used it as a source of food for lack of anything better in the harsh winter, and it sustained him until he reached his destination.

After almost twenty years and countless Crow deaths, Johnston finally ended his vendetta against the Crow and made peace. This truce was so complete that he thereafter referred to the members of the Crow tribe as "his brothers."

Liver-Eating Johnson never ate another human liver, but during the Civil War he did join the Union Army in St. Louis. He worked as a sharpshooter, and was honorably discharged the following year. During the 1880s he was appointed deputy sheriff in Leadville, Colorado and later as a town marshal in Red Lodge, Montana.

In December 1899, aged seventy-six years, the Crow Killer was admitted to a veteran's hospital in Los Angeles, where he died on January 21, 1900. He had lived a long and adventurous life, and his story was passed on through the generations. While some of the events from his life are verifiable, many of the stories are no doubt improved upon from over a century of retelling and embellishment.

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 22 January 2006. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

Article design by Alan Bellows.
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53 Comments
white_matter
Posted 23 January 2006 at 12:12 am

I'd like to see a three-way cage match between him, William Wallace and Hannible Lecter. Who would win? Any opinions?


Berkana
Posted 23 January 2006 at 12:43 am

If there ever was a bad-ass, this guy is it.

In a cage match between William Wallace, this guy, and Hannibal Lecter, Wallace would be killed first and split between Liver-eater and Hannibal. Then, this guy would take Wallace's leg, and beat Hannibal to death with it.


HallyD
Posted 23 January 2006 at 07:48 am

This must be the story told in one of my favorite movies, Jeremiah Johnson, with Robert Redford. I loved it as a teenager, but I don't remember the liver and leg eating.


Eric Leeson
Posted 23 January 2006 at 12:41 pm

Why wasn't this guy president? Just a hunch, but I am willing to bet a presendancy with John "liver-eating" Johnston at the helm would be far more impressive than.... Well, Fillmar. Perhaps if "W" started eating the livers of known al queda operatives, they would seriously reconsider this whole jihad thing.


Bucky
Posted 23 January 2006 at 04:43 pm

All right! Give this guy a hand!

Oh, wait...


lahuard
Posted 23 January 2006 at 04:45 pm

A little skull with the mothers body? I didn't think that babies had skulls that were solid bone that early. Am i wrong?


MtnManNH
Posted 23 January 2006 at 07:29 pm

Yes, you would be. At 7 months the child was viable... at least with today's technology. All bones are present.


superwoman
Posted 25 January 2006 at 08:53 am

Hmm interesting, I wonder how many people he killed..


alipardiwala
Posted 25 January 2006 at 10:08 am

Impressive. But you'd think a cannibal so dangerous would be thrown in jail, instead they make him sheriff. And all of a sudden all his hatred to the crows, all their people he killed, just doesnt matter anymore, they're his 'brothers'.


gorgeousplanet
Posted 25 January 2006 at 07:42 pm

So after 20 years of murdering people, he finally considered them his "brothers." Hmm, why hasn't this theory worked between the Palestinians and Israelis? This guy is a real embarrassment for our history.


superwoman
Posted 26 January 2006 at 09:47 am

gorgeousplanet said: "So after 20 years of murdering people, he finally considered them his "brothers." Hmm, why hasn't this theory worked between the Palestinians and Israelis? This guy is a real embarrassment for our history."

That's what I was wondering!


IknowIknowNothing
Posted 30 January 2006 at 01:02 pm

Eric Leeson said: Perhaps if "W" started eating the livers of known al queda operatives, they would seriously reconsider this whole jihad thing."

Right on. over the years our presidents have been reduced from War Heroes and Generals to Hollywood actors, and, at worst, polite, well-dressed salesmen. And as we all know, salesmen don't get us anything but junk we don't need.

But still, I think we should start with an underdog candidate, and work our way up to Cannibal.


sammytexas
Posted 19 February 2006 at 01:25 pm

HallyD said: "This must be the story told in one of my favorite movies, Jeremiah Johnson, with Robert Redford. I loved it as a teenager, but I don't remember the liver and leg eating."

That's exactly what I was thinking. This doesn't stray too much at all from the movie. In fact my parents liked it so much they named me Jeremiah and their cat Pilgrim. I think the book was called "mountain man" but I'm not positive.


The_Smurf_Strangler
Posted 03 April 2006 at 12:43 pm

Anyone seen Ravenous....I loved it ..very scary.


sleepwalker
Posted 09 June 2006 at 12:10 am

i would do the same revenge too if they did it to me.

but i will never eat liver.

i prefer barbecued bison or buffalo meat, marinated in vinegar, garlic and spices... served with fried potato and wheat bread.


Chalumeau
Posted 19 June 2006 at 07:41 pm

Does anyone know precisely why Johnston ate the livers, and no other edible bits of his targets' anatomy? I think the liver is rich in certain nutrients (ex. iron) but I could be wrong.


Barking dog
Posted 09 July 2006 at 09:20 am

Greetings all, I have a little bit of information for you about the "Liver Eater".. Although that is a cool name to have it according to history sources he nevery really ate a liver. He pretended to and convienced a friend of his by smearing blodd on his beard and acting like he ate it... as for the movie it was excellent and I recommend it highly. The movie was based off of two books... Crow Killer by Thorp and Mountain Man by Vardis Fisher... also recommended reading. Also if you go to a website http://www.huntershotsprings.com and fish around a little bet for the Liver Eater... his obituary is on there and its interesting reading. Also if you get on a search engine (I use dogpile.com because it uses several engines at once) and type in quotes "dorman nelson" it will bring up some godd stuff. Dorman Nelson is currently doing a biography on Johnson and has been researching Johnson for almost 20 years. hope this helps everyone.... and watch the movie if you get a minute... if nothing else you will see the beautiful landscape of Colorado, Wyoming, and of course Montana. Ruff!


Tantabroxe
Posted 23 July 2006 at 03:34 pm

Does anyone know precisely why Johnston ate the livers, and no other edible bits of his targets' anatomy? I think the liver is rich in certain nutrients (ex. iron) but I could be wrong.

==============================

His cholestorol levels must have been through the roof!


Gemfyre
Posted 09 December 2006 at 06:11 am

I've known some ferals in my time but this guy takes the cake!


notsorico
Posted 20 January 2007 at 11:45 pm

Johnson was buried in the veterans cemetery in Los Angeles in 1900.. In 1974 a biology teacher from the Antelope Valley, Calif. named Tri Robinson started a class project to get Johnson back home in Cody, Wyoming.. Johnson was reburied in Old Trail Town, Cody, Wyoming in 1974 with over 2000 people in attendance.. The teacher is now the pastor of the Vineyard Church in Bosie, Ida.. submitted by notsorico@hotmail.com I use to live in te Antelope Valley and now live in Montana


staver808
Posted 25 January 2007 at 01:33 pm

Is it just me or is no one else amazed by the "Armed with the leg as a blunt instrument and with the warrior's knife, Johnston managed to fight his way out of the Blackfoot camp and make his escape into the woods." If I was stuck in that situation I'm fairly certain most people wouldn't think, "Hey, this guy has a leg I can saw off. I bet it'd make a great WEAPON." Who thinks of hacking off a limb to use as a weapon. Now I can see if there's a severed leg and you're searching around for a weapon and decide to use it, but not while it's attached to a person. o_O

And on the other end, are we just wimps or what? Can anyone honestly say that they would fight someone who has just cut off SOMEONE'S LEG to use as a weapon? I'd take one look at that and say "Wow, he really wants to get out of here much more than I want to keep that crazy bastard in here with me! Heck next time he tries to escape it might be MY leg he uses as a weapon." The guy who attacks my friends with a human leg is just all kinds of bad ass, and he just wins any kind of who's the biggest bad ass contest. Instead I'd be "Heh, sorry about the whole ambushing and selling you to the Crow's thing. It was a misunderstanding see? We wanted Jon Johnston, no H, see? Feel free to take anything you want on your way out, just don't kill anyone else, please."

The whole cannibal thing just took a second seat to the whole cutting off a leg and using it as a weapon thing for me. Sheesh, I know he's an experienced trapper and skinner and all, but you'd think it's still take a while to hack through all the muscle in a leg. Just much time did he have to hack off the leg anyway? My mind just boggles at this.


Elkchaser2
Posted 09 February 2007 at 11:45 pm

Its funny to listen to you people that live in the pork eating flat lands. Me I eat alot of elk and mostly deer. As there isn't much beaver around and I prefer elk. Indians had a much different value system than you city folk. They respected courage and honor and truth. All the things this country is looseing as it plummets to its demise. Like all of the great countries we have become weak and started to embrace things like sodomy and the lack of disipline in the family. Johnson was an awesome man. Do any of you faggot lovers know how cold it gets in the mountains at night? Could any off you Hillary lovers start a fire with what is in the woods? You are the ruin of this nation thru your weakness and by forgetting who built this country. Just to remind you it was men and women that got very cold at night carried guns and worked very hard. They got dirty, smelled and didn't get a hot shower...basically ever. You weak ones can go right in your bathroom and take a hot shower and turn on the heat. You have toilet paper.

Take a break and go into your small minds and put yourself at 8000' on your horse...the temp is 25 degress and you have a good jacket and blanket. Dinner is jerky unless you kill something to eat. You don't have a flashlight or matches. You people or Pilgrims won't last a week. But you can sit in your warm homes and critize what Johnson did and how the Crow finally accepted him. Hmmmm you helpless liberals had better do some thinking before you talk.


sulkykid
Posted 10 February 2007 at 11:17 pm

I am speechless.


dorman
Posted 12 February 2007 at 04:33 pm

Liver eating Johnston is noted as appearing in Montana the last of 1862. Before that he was a sailor. As a growing lad his father farmed Johnston and his brother, John, out to neighbors, most probably to pay debts that papa Isaac Garrison accrued. Most of the tales on the net are not correct. In fact, if you follow the articles and news items, they lead to the book Crow Killer which was written in 1957. Some of the tales in the book are actually other frontiersmen, one such is Boone Helm who carried the "leg" one winter. He was one of Plummer's men in the Bannack arena.
Johnston did live in the Mountains and plains, killed his share of men, worked, trapped and traded with the best of the lot. He was feared, careful, surley and powerful--in short he was able.
He came close to cashing it in many times, but lived until he became sick and unable. He was sent to Sawtelle, California by the folks in Red lodge, Montana(1899). By the way, he traded horses with the Crow....I am finishing my research this year and have the complete story.....dormannelson@sbcglobal.net


vic_rider_7
Posted 08 April 2007 at 01:54 am

Your typical mountain man type was definitely a mean breed. One thing I find curious the article states he was handy with a .30 caliber Hawkin rifle. The Hawlin was a muzzle loader which fired a patched round ball. Back in those days anything under .50 caliber was pretty much a squirrel gun. Most were .54 caliber, however in the interest of saving precious lead there were a number of them chambered for the smaller .50 caliber round. You needed that big heavy round to effectively deal with larger game animals such as elk and the predatory grizzly bear. Black powder firearms while quite effective for the day have nowhere near velocity or knockdown power of modern firearms.


sulkykid
Posted 08 April 2007 at 03:37 pm

Actually, squirrels and squirrel guns played a big part in the foundation of the U.S. Back in colonial days, the Eastern third of the continent (where the original colonies were located) was covered with thick hardwood forests. This is squirrel heaven, and indeed there were lots ands lots of squirrels. Probably in numbers to rival passenger pigeons and buffalo. These squirrels were a big part of the early American diet. Killing the squirrels was not so easy. They were small, quick, and would hide when approached. A new technology was developed-a lighter, longer shooting, more accurate rifle. The British soldier was equipped with something like a blunderbuss. The Revolutionaries were experienced marksmen using highly accurate (for the day) weapons. Thus, the squirrel won the American Revolution.


vic_rider_7
Posted 09 April 2007 at 03:42 pm

sulkykid said: "Actually, squirrels and squirrel guns played a big part in the foundation of the U.S. Back in colonial days, the Eastern third of the continent (where the original colonies were located) was covered with thick hardwood forests. This is squirrel heaven, and indeed there were lots ands lots of squirrels. Probably in numbers to rival passenger pigeons and buffalo. These squirrels were a big part of the early American diet. Killing the squirrels was not so easy. They were small, quick, and would hide when approached. A new technology was developed-a lighter, longer shooting, more accurate rifle. The British soldier was equipped with something like a blunderbuss. The Revolutionaries were experienced marksmen using highly accurate (for the day) weapons. Thus, the squirrel won the American Revolution."

During the American Revolution both sides used for the most part the .75 caliber “Brown Bess”. It was a smooth bore flintlock musket accurate out to about 50 yards. There were a few frontier types that used the .45 caliber Kentucky Rifle which was accurate out to about 200 yards but it was delicate and slow to reload. Remember black powder left a lot of fowling and a tightly patched round ball needed a clean bore to work correctly.

Rifled muskets were also very expensive to produce on account of the machining necessary to cut in the rifling inside the barrel. The rifled musket didn’t really come into play until the 1840’s. The Louis and Clark expedition learned very quickly about the limitations of the Kentucky rifle when they first encountered the Grizzly Bear. It wasn’t until the American Civil War and the Minie Ball that the rifled musket showed its true destructive power.

I’ve done my share of hunting and bagged plenty of squirrels as kid. Compaired to a lot of the stuff your typical survivalist types like mountain men ate they’re pretty good eating. When’s the last time you chowed down on muskrat, opossum or raccoon? Care for some beetle grubs or what about some nice tasty earthworms? Compared to that rabbit and squirrel are a delicacy.

By the way I have a replica Hawken rifle, I’ve never seen one smaller than .50 caliber. Check out the link. http://www.possibleshop.com/hawken-rifle.htm


Blase Splee
Posted 16 April 2007 at 02:49 pm

wow...now you're a man, a manny manny man.

Elkchaser2 said: "Its funny to listen to you people that live in the pork eating flat lands. Me I eat alot of elk and mostly deer. As there isn't much beaver around and I prefer elk. Indians had a much different value system than you city folk. They respected courage and honor and truth. All the things this country is looseing as it plummets to its demise. Like all of the great countries we have become weak and started to embrace things like sodomy and the lack of disipline in the family. Johnson was an awesome man. Do any of you faggot lovers know how cold it gets in the mountains at night? Could any off you Hillary lovers start a fire with what is in the woods? You are the ruin of this nation thru your weakness and by forgetting who built this country. Just to remind you it was men and women that got very cold at night carried guns and worked very hard. They got dirty, smelled and didn't get a hot shower…basically ever. You weak ones can go right in your bathroom and take a hot shower and turn on the heat. You have toilet paper.

Take a break and go into your small minds and put yourself at 8000' on your horse…the temp is 25 degress and you have a good jacket and blanket. Dinner is jerky unless you kill something to eat. You don't have a flashlight or matches. You people or Pilgrims won't last a week. But you can sit in your warm homes and critize what Johnson did and how the Crow finally accepted him. Hmmmm you helpless liberals had better do some thinking before you talk."

They also don't have the internet. I assume your computer is made of sticks?


helmett
Posted 07 May 2007 at 03:47 pm

Elkchaser2 said: "Its funny to listen to you people that live in the pork eating flat lands. Me I eat alot of elk and mostly deer. As there isn't much beaver around and I prefer elk. Indians had a much different value system than you city folk. They respected courage and honor and truth. All the things this country is looseing as it plummets to its demise. Like all of the great countries we have become weak and started to embrace things like sodomy and the lack of disipline in the family. Johnson was an awesome man. Do any of you faggot lovers know how cold it gets in the mountains at night? Could any off you Hillary lovers start a fire with what is in the woods? You are the ruin of this nation thru your weakness and by forgetting who built this country. Just to remind you it was men and women that got very cold at night carried guns and worked very hard. They got dirty, smelled and didn't get a hot shower…basically ever. You weak ones can go right in your bathroom and take a hot shower and turn on the heat. You have toilet paper.


Take a break and go into your small minds and put yourself at 8000' on your horse…the temp is 25 degress and you have a good jacket and blanket. Dinner is jerky unless you kill something to eat. You don't have a flashlight or matches. You people or Pilgrims won't last a week. But you can sit in your warm homes and critize what Johnson did and how the Crow finally accepted him. Hmmmm you helpless liberals had better do some thinking before you talk."

Deep breath, bro. Deeeeeep breattthhhhh.


WilliamBJohnston
Posted 19 May 2007 at 11:23 pm

I am actually a descendant of John Johnston (my brother actually has his name) and my father was there right Robert Redford when they moved his body from LA to Cody...


graywolf
Posted 20 May 2007 at 05:59 pm

If you study the history of the west, you'll see that many lawmen started on the wrong side then went straight. I think some of the details concerning Johnson were not used to make a bit more of a family movie.


vic_rider_7
Posted 22 May 2007 at 03:40 pm

Tantabroxe said: "Does anyone know precisely why Johnston ate the livers, and no other edible bits of his targets' anatomy? I think the liver is rich in certain nutrients (ex. iron) but I could be wrong.


==============================

His cholestorol levels must have been through the roof!"

Mr. Johnston might have been trying to emulate the wolf an animal the Crow had deep respect for. The alpha animal eats first and usually takes the heart and liver. Cutting out the livers of his victims might have been his way of saying I’m king of the mountain. I’m the predator and you’re my prey.


Merciless
Posted 22 June 2007 at 01:39 pm

This guy is definitely a bad ass. I wonder if he knew Grizzly Adams? Only joking. Seriously though, he could have single handedly won the Battle of the Alamo or something.


old jim
Posted 21 August 2007 at 07:41 pm

I read the book ... wanted to know more. Walked the banks of the Little Snake. Found evidence of 1800 era white man stuff but no pile of rocks. Found old indian camps and amongst the artifacts was a rusted piece of a harmonica. The stuff's still there, I left it. Somewhere along there is Hatcher's place. I'm sure I was close but who knows fer sure?
Same with the caves in the Owl Creeks? Crazy Woman's cabin is at the bottom of what is now Ft Peck Reservoir.


tarteauxpommes
Posted 02 September 2007 at 01:08 pm

Eurgh. Seems like a pretty gruesome way to get back at the Crows. Did they have a taboo or something against eating livers?


Atomizer
Posted 01 June 2008 at 09:56 pm

"Johnston wasted no time in taking the warrior's knife, which he used to saw one of the Indian's legs off at the hip. Armed with the leg as a blunt instrument and with the warrior's knife, Johnston managed to fight his way out of the Blackfoot camp and make his escape into the woods."

Wow... wow... Now THAT'S how you escape. That's a man right there. End of story. I'm done.


Dexcelcious
Posted 31 August 2008 at 04:00 pm

I'd like to respond in my usually intellectual manner, but I'm puzzled at how I could convey it in any other way, other than: Freakin' badass.


MikeTubbs
Posted 23 September 2008 at 02:16 am

sleepwalker said: "i would do the same revenge too if they did it to me.

but i will never eat liver....bla...bla..bla."

....heY!...slap some sauteed 'Walla Walla' onion on it and it's all good!

I don't know the particulars of where you hail from, but if you ever visit Grand Ronde, Oregon, stop by, and we'll do lunch.

The local tribe is just a quick wade across Agency Creek from my place....


Sow Paw
Posted 26 October 2008 at 03:25 pm

Tantabroxe said: "Does anyone know precisely why Johnston ate the livers, and no other edible bits of his targets' anatomy? I think the liver is rich in certain nutrients (ex. iron) but I could be wrong.

==============================

His cholestorol levels must have been through the roof!"

"Sho..Da..Zhaa" is the Crow word for hello.
This next spring I will be with my Crow brothers on the buffalo range near Lodge Grass MT. where I have been invited to harvest a buffalo as an honor gift to me for things I have done for them in the past. I will most likely use a .54 caliber Hawken replica of mine as a .30 would only bother an animal the size of a "Bu...Shaa!" (Buffalo) and when the animal is opened, I am expected to take out the heart or the liver and eat a piece of it before offering it to my friends in the hunting party. If I eat the heart I am giving honor and respect to the fallen animal for all to see. If I eat the liver, I am demonstrating my dominance and making the statement to all that this animal and the rest of his kind are mine to take as I please. "Crow Killer" turned the tradition around and used it to deliver a message to those that would be foolish enough to hunt him.
If you have ever been hunted by those that would kill you if you give them the chance, you would understand that drastic times require drastic measures.
Elkchaser2 has it right. Perhaps if Obama is elected the Marxists will come hunting us Christian Conservatives. They may be surprised to find out that some of us still eat livers.


Moctezuma
Posted 12 December 2008 at 06:58 pm

Damn! That guy's more hardcore than the terminator. I must say, I would be pretty f-in pissed too if after months in the wilderness, you're about to come back to your home and get some nice squaw poonanny and find that some assholes have killed your wife! Regarding the liver eating thing, I heard/read somewhere that he pretended to eat a liver of one of the dead crow in order to scare the bejeesus out of the rest. Too bad that the fight between ol' johnston and the 20 best warriors was never documented, that would have been one of the baddest fights ever, screw UFC and cagefighting! Aah, alas, there's definitely no badasses like they had in the olden days, generations keep getting weaker. I'm gonna go cook up some liver and onions now, bon appetit!


ValiantDefender
Posted 30 December 2008 at 11:09 am

Have to say that I almost cried to hear they killed his wife. That kind of thing really gets to me. I think I would do the same if it was back in the day when the individual had to protect himself, his family and their honor. I used to go camping (tents and hiking 15 miles a day) every summer with my family. I loved the woods and even tho i am now a soft bellied software instructor, I know that it doesn't take long of livign in the woods to get in shape.


Jeremiah
Posted 09 October 2009 at 08:34 pm

First i would like to say yall dont have a clue as to what its like to live the way he did. Growing up i spent many a long months bear and elk hunten with my uncle Edd in and around Windy Point Colorado and theres nothing like a 5 degree night huddled around a fire and a 10 degree 10 mile hike in hill country to test a mans ability to survive extreams. Second ive done years of resurch and in no texts and in no storys other then this page does is ever say any thing about this John Johnston being conected to this story. Jeremiah Garrison is the man who then changed his name to Jeremiah Johnson after hitting his CO. There are many storys in my familey from my great great uncle who spent several months with Jeremiah trapping in Colorado. The man was so well thought of in my familey these many year later i myself was named after him. So please get facts straight befor insulting a great man by putting the wrong name with a mans acomplishments!!!!!!!!!!


melindamaley
Posted 31 January 2010 at 05:52 pm

WilliamBJohnston 19 May 2007 at 11:23 pm • reply

I am actually a descendant of John Johnston (my brother actually has his name) and my father was there right Robert Redford when they moved his body from LA to Cody…
thats really funny because im pretty sure ur not related to him...however johnston wasnt his real last name and he is my grandmothers fathers brother. he is in our family tree and fyi his name wasnt john johnson.


melindamaley
Posted 31 January 2010 at 05:56 pm

i meant to say his name wast john garrison


tom12e500
Posted 24 February 2010 at 06:23 pm

there be confusion on me hawken gun. in the day musket an rifle asame were by gage not the "caliber" you flatlanders error un. 30 gage wast 30 shot fer pound about .535 kings inch a 233 grain ball .I be a mountainman but i still haf me wits an me hair if not ye proper spellin. ask me another an i"ll put ye aright.


tusam
Posted 11 July 2010 at 10:28 am

@melindamaley: aside from who being related to whom; people change their names sometimes, thereafter it's supposed to be as if they were born with it (unless it was a momentary alias taken out of necessity or something)..
just my 2cents etc


zz2h33
Posted 19 October 2010 at 08:49 pm

this commentary is epic


dorman
Posted 05 November 2010 at 10:47 pm

WilliamBJohnston said: "I am actually a descendant of John Johnston (my brother actually has his name) and my father was there right Robert Redford when they moved his body from LA to Cody…"

Howdy, In reference to John Liver Eating Johnston or Jeremiah Johnson:
Would like to contact you and your brother. I have a photo of 2 Johnstons that say they are related and I want to post this in my book. dormannelson@sbcglobal.net
or http://www.johnlivereatingjohnston.com


dorman
Posted 05 November 2010 at 10:51 pm

melindamaley said: "WilliamBJohnston 19 May 2007 at 11:23 pm • reply

I am actually a descendant of John Johnston (my brother actually has his name) and my father was there right Robert Redford when they moved his body from LA to Cody…
thats really funny because im pretty sure ur not related to him…however johnston wasnt his real last name and he is my grandmothers fathers brother. he is in our family tree and fyi his name wasnt john johnson."

Howdy,
I would like to touch base with you as I have all the ancestry on Johnston including coming from Scotland and the Dutch/German border. His brother WAS named John Garrison--he was killed during the Civil War.
Johnston did not have children, but his sisters did. I have contacted the living relatives and all did not know they were related. Matilda, Johnston's sister keep in touch with most of the family. Her husband died in 1900 back in New Jersey, and she conducted many funerals for relatatives over the years until she died.
Dorman Nelson
Biographer
http://www.johnlivereatingjohnston.com or contact me at dormannelson@sbcglobal.net


oldschool
Posted 18 July 2011 at 08:45 pm

i nominate this guy for a spot on Spike Tv's Deadliest Warrior that would be a sweet episode


clanon
Posted 09 January 2014 at 02:12 pm

@superwoman An embarassment ? Are the Spanish or Portugese or the Catholics embarassed about the Inquisitions ?


Joseph Garrison
Posted 02 March 2014 at 06:57 pm

I am the descendant of a John Garrison, who fought in the civil war for the New Jersey Volunteers. I wonder if there is a connection.


Brandon
Posted 15 July 2014 at 09:33 am

Chalumeau said: "Does anyone know precisely why Johnston ate the livers, and no other edible bits of his targets' anatomy? I think the liver is rich in certain nutrients (ex. iron) but I could be wrong."

The Liver was considered sacred and necessary to pass on to the afterlife to the Crow nation/tribe. By eating their livers he was preventing them from entering their version of the afterlife, something akin to spitting blood in the face of the entire nation and committing an "Ultimate sacrilege" against their beliefs.

Essentially he was declaring himself to be the ultimate warrior against the crow and striking fear and hatred into their hearts in one move.


END OF COMMENTS
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