In this movie, one may observe the different attitudes that Americans had towards Indians. The Indians were those unconquered people to the west and the almighty brave, Mountain Man went there, “forgetting all the troubles he knew,” and away from civilization. The mountain man is going in search of adventure but as this “adventure” starts he finds that his survival skills are not helping him since he cant even fish and as he is seen by an Indian, who watches him at his attempt to fish, he start respecting them. The view that civilization had given him of the west changes and so does he. Civilization soon becomes just something that exists “down there.”
The movie starts by showing the Indians as “bad” when Johnson finds a note of another mountain man who has “savagely” been killed by the Indians. This view changes as the movie points out tribes instead of Indians as just one group. Some of the tribes are shown dangerous and not to be messed with while others are friendly, still each tribe treats Johnson as “outsider.” Indians are not portrayed as greater than “white men” yet white men respect their laws, rituals and specific beliefs. Johnson is at first very naïve and unaware of how the Indians work. Soon he learns from bear claw that there are different type of Indians some which you should never even think of fighting and some that had never hurt a white man before. More than to be respectful the mountain men submit to the Indians out of fear.
Johnson accommodates to the environment and learns to coexist with the Indians.
Jeremiah is “given” a wife forcefully and as much as he does not want it he soon realizes he has everything he needs to just settle. Like in every good movie, just when you have all it is take away. The real trouble with the tribes comes when white men intervene and intrude. The Indians expect that these “Americans” respect their territory and whatever rituals and beliefs they may have but just as Johnson was unaware of this when he first came so where the...