Cody, Wyoming, certainly has its share of colorful characters, but only one of them was known as “Liver Eating.” John Jeremiah Johnston was a real person and not just a character portrayed by Robert Redford in a 1972 movie. The real Jeremiah Johnston was a mountain man who was born in 1824 in New Jersey, fought in the Mexican American War, married a member of the Flathead tribe, and embarked on a 25-year vendetta after his wife was killed by a young Crow brave.
He spent many years in Montana and was a town marshal in Red Lodge.
Johnston died in 1900 at a veterans’ home in Santa Monica, California, and was buried at a Los Angeles veterans’ cemetery. When a freeway was planned to go through that graveyard, some 25 seventh-grade students and their teacher embarked on a campaign to find a suitable location for Johnston’s final resting place. In 1974, he was reinterred at Cody’s Old Trail Town/Museum of the Old West. Among the pall bearers was Robert Redford.
Johnston’s epitaph reads “No More Trails.”
For more information on Cody Yellowstone, visit www.CodyYellowstone.org.