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Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson (Midland Book) Paperback – August 22, 1983


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Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson (Midland Book) + Mountain Man + Tales of the Mountain Men: Seventeen Stories of Survival, Exploration, and Frontier Spirit
Price for all three: $33.29

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Product Details

  • Series: Midland Book
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (August 22, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253203120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253203120
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I have read this book a number of times.
John A. Roby
Excellent tales from the life of a larger than life character.
John Turpin
After reading this I realize I have things pretty darn good.
Curtis B

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Jim Tenuto VINE VOICE on August 1, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The movie "Jeremiah Johnson" found some of its inspiration and history in the true life adventures of John "Liver-Eatin'" Johnston. As tough as Jeremiah was, he can barely hold a candle to the tough mountain man who ate the livers of his vanquished foes.

The feats of survival, tracking, and hunting boggle the mind. While the authors draw from oral history (and perhaps have been taken in with some broad embellishments), the remarkable vengeance Johnston extracts from the Crow tribe for the death of his wife and unborn child is staggering. The Crows, troubled by Johnston's relentless vengeance, dispatch 20 warriors on a mission to find and kill the tribe's nemesis. Over a period that spanned over a decade the solitary Crows fall to Johnston. He killed them all.

This is not a book for the politically correct...the book originally appeared in the 1940s. Don't expect to confront descriptions of other races that include hyphens.

For those who have read the Dan O'Brien books, THE CONTRACT SURGEON and THE INDIAN AGENT, there is a reference to Valentine T. McGillycuddy. For fans of the HBO Original Series DEADWOOD, "Colorado" Charlie Utter warrants several mentions.

An interesting read for those who harbor any admiration for the real pioneers.
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Matthew J. Lambert on August 30, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I suppose that most people find their way to this book through the movie,Jeremiah Johnson. It is a great film and one of Redford's best.
The book is a fascinating look at the real life model for Jeremiah Johnson, John Johnston. His story is essentially compiled from the oral tradition of the old west augmented by interviews with people who knew Johnston (or alleged to know him.)
Some of the stories are fantastic and should be taken with a grain of salt but it does suggest that only a very unusual(and dangerous)individual succeeded as a mountain man. The romantic notion of the old west is replaced by an environment that is hostile and unforgiving. The map provided is hand-drawn but gives a sense of what must have been involved for settlers attempting to cross that portion of the country.
I enjoyed this small volume very much and found it ironic that Johnston wound up being buried in a cemetery in Los Angeles (what an insult!)
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Allen L. Peterson on August 31, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Regardless of whether it is truth, legend, fiction, or myth, Crow Killer is a good read for those interested in the old west and the life of the mountain men. Much better and bigger than the movie (just as Johnson was much bigger than Redford) with vivid action and great descriptions of the times. Some people seem concerned with the lack of documentation, however word of mouth and story telling were the documentation methods of the times for red and white men alike. A good read. If you liked the movie you'll enjoy the book.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By John A. Roby on February 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have read this book a number of times. Having grown up in Wyoming, I am familiar with much of the country and many of the people described in the book. Opening this book is like going home all over again. This is not an "historical novel" but a retelling of actual events that reads better than any fictional adventure story. The best part about the book is that it turns the giants of the American West into real people, with real foibles and follies. The mountain men weren't super heroes, but regular people living a hard and dangerous life. It's an excellent snapshot of the realities of frontier life, told by the people who lived there. Thank God Raymond Thorp interviewed these men before all knowledge of their lives passed into obscurity.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dorman Nelson on October 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
CROW KILLER by Raymond Thorp and Robert Bunker

Interesting to note that Crow Killer was written in 1956 and first published in 1957. Despite the cruel depictions of battle, attitudes and man vrs man and nature; Bunker actually wrote nurturing prose about the Native Americans in Other Men's Skies and other publications.
Raymond Thorp was the mover and shaker in getting information and tracking down individuals involved in the Liver Eating Johnson saga. (He wrote about Black Widows and Jim Bowie's knife, as well.) There are pictures of him with Johnston's National Cemetery Stone in Sawtelle, California, of some of his weapons and areas in the Johnson arena while rambling after the real man. He spent a lot of time talking to veterans of the plains and mountains, many of them coming to Pasedena pastures to graze in arthritic old age. (Hard to move around in the cold crippled up.) Del Gue was the one
fella I could never find any historic facts about. Not even his name is mentioned anywhere. Others are looking as well.
White-eyed Anderson was another frontiersman. He was there, bunked and trapped with Johnston for a time and is now buried in California at Forest Lawn.

Robert Bunker was the actual writer; fleshing out the information that Thorp gave him. (I was fortunate to speak to and write him about this book over the years. Both have joined Johnston in eternal rest.) Together the authors have created a moving piece of folklore laced with truth about the frontier and this one man who was known to many in his time. Not mentioned is Johnston's considerable time as a whiskey peddler in Canada out of Fort Benton and his time with an 1884 wild west show along with Crow Indians, Calamity Jane, Curley, Hardwick, LeForge and many others.
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