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Crow Killer
Raymond W. Thorp
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Crow Killer

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  521 ratings  ·  58 reviews
The true story (on which the film Jeremiah Johnson was partially based) ofJohn Johnson, who in 1847 found his wife and her unborn child had been killed by Crow braves. Out of this tragedy came one of the most gripping feudsone man against a whole tribein American history.
Paperback, 0 pages
Published August 1st 1959 by Signet (first published 1959)
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Esteban del Mal
All of the Conrad, none of the guilt!

A sight met her passengers which was certainly calculated to shock the nerves of any eastern tenderfoot. Along the brink of the river bank on both sides of the landing a row of stakes was planted, and each stake carried a white, grinning Indian skull. They were evidently the pride of the inhabitants, and a little to one side, as if guarding them, stood a trapper, well-known throughout eastern Montana by the sobriquet of 'Liver-Eating' Johnson. He was leaning
J.K. Grice
CROW KILLER was one of the books that the film JEREMIAH JOHNSON was based on. It's an interesting account of the lives of mountain men in the old west. I didn't like this book as much as I did THE REVENANT by Michael Punke, but Thorp still gives us a worthwhile read.
Eric Ruark
Fascinating book. I love the movie Jeremiah Johnson. This was the book that they based the film on. The book is a fascinating study of what it was like to be a "mountain man" at the height of the fur trapping era. It is also a powerful story of love/hate and if I said any more, I would have to fill this review with spoilers. By the way, it is not a book for the faint of heart. The men involved were capable of great cruelty to match their unbelievable bravery.
Sep 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Written for a 1940s audience, this is pretty much a tall tale of the legends of Liver-Eating Johnson, which is not to say it's unentertaining. It's fun, even if it's not true.
Tres Herndon
Man, John Johnson was about the baddest human being ever to walk the planet if even half of the stories in this book are true. I recently saw the movie "Jeremiah Johnson" for the first time and was curious about the true story behind the character's inspiration.

Johnson's story may be fairly unbelievable, but the authors went to great lengths to verify most tales from multiple sources. I constantly had to remind myself that the world the Mountain Men lived in was vastly different from the world o
Sep 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good friend recommended this book for a quick read. He thought I'd enjoy the historical action of this. He was right. I had seen "Jeremiah Johnson" the Robert Redford movie years ago and was curious what was behind the "Hollywood" initiative to make a movie out of this hunter/trapper of the mid 19th century. What I can say, is that Hollywood did not do this guy any justice. Liver-Eating Johnson was one hell of a badass. Period.
Tana Wold
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The movie is nothing compared to this. They should make a movie closer to this story. I loved it. I wanted to read this book since I was a kid and saw Jeremiah Johnson, forgot about it until recently.
This and another book called "Mountain Man" by Vardis Fisher were the basis of the movie "Jeremiah Johnson" -- one of my top 2-3 movies of all time. Based on real mountain man John Johnson, the name was changed for the film to make it sound more old-Westy.
Even when read as the introduction suggests - that is, from a postmodern understanding that although John Johnston was a real person we have photos of and even relocated the bones of once Robert Redford played him in a movie, "Liver-Eating Johnson" has more in common with Beowulf or Paul Bunyon than he does with Kit Carson or Jim Bridger, and that stories about him are primarily valuable as case studies of the semi-historical-heroic-legend-creation that societies transitioning from the nomadic t ...more
This is a literary analysis I wrote for my English II Honors class.
The Crow Killer
The Crow Killer is a great non-fictional book about the mountain man Jeremiah Liver-Eating Johnson a big mountain man back in the mid 1800’s. I highly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in old mountain men stories.
The story starts out in St. Joseph, Missouri, when Johnston was just 20 years old. He stops to grab some supplies for his trapline, traps, rifle, powder, and a horse. The store clerks name
Scott Schmidt
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book among the few paperbacks that were among my grandparents belongings in their old house. I'd seen the Robert Redford movie "Jeremiah Johnson," but didn't know it was loosely based on this book about the larger-than-life mountain man, John Liver-Eating Johnson. And all I can really say is that the movie pales in comparison to the book. The historical accounts of Johnson and his fellow mountain men and their life on the frontier is intense, harsh and exactly the sort of history th ...more
Jason Walley
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of a hokey book written and read in a mid-20th century perspective of "Cowboys and Indians" but and enjoyable journey. I loved the Robert Redford movie of Jeremiah Johnson and it seems to be based on the real life exploits of Johnston (if that was his real name). And, the exploits were probably exaggerated. However, this was a time in American history where manly men savored adventure. The kind of adventure that would kill most modern Americans in the first night.
Melba Toast
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! I decided to read this after watching Jeremiah Johnson. Many interesting facts in this gem.
Michael Macdermott
Fantastic true-to-life story of the trapper and fighter of the Crow indians in the early 1800's. Remarkable strength and fortitude by an American Achilles.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Old West folklore presented as fact. A surprisingly slow and dull read.
H. P.
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Crow Killer is the story of John “Liver-Eating” Johnston. Johnston served as the inspiration for Jeremiah Johnson in the eponymous 1972 movie. The movie only covers a small portion of Johnston’s life and sanitizes his story, however.

Johnston made his living as a fur trapper in the American west for decades between the halcyon days of fur trapping and the advent of the “wild, wild west” much more prominent in the American psyche (Johnston and his fellow mountain men derided cowboys as tenderfoots
Robert Clancy
Robert Redford's portrayal of the 19th Century mountain man, Jeremiah Johnson, in Sidney Pollack's popular movie is a wimpy "tenderfoot" compared with the accounts of the real Jeremiah Johnson, also known as "Liver-Eating Johnson" or just simply "Liver-Eater" or "Crow Killer" by many indian tribes. As the title of this book announces, Johnson was renowned throughout mountain men and indian circles for his blood lust vendetta against the Crow Indians. As a young man, he took a Flathead squaw as a ...more
Eric Juneau
My in-laws have a cabin in Montana, and I think they bought this book because it mostly takes place in Montana and regions thereabouts, plus they like Westerns. It tells the story of "Liver-Eating Johnson", also known as John Johnson or Jeremiah Johnson (from the movie with Robert Redford, which is not a true story, but fictionalized. Kind of like 8-Mile), taken from the anecdotes gathered from the few living people who knew him.

I don't like to read much non-fiction, but this book kicks ass. Joh
Mar 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I enjoyed the book despite the fact that it is presented as historical even though it is largely fiction. For what it is, it is captivating. It tells the story of a rugged man who exemplifies the era in which he lived, and in fact outlived. It was a gruff era of self reliance and bloodshed. Vendetta after vendetta is carried out. And yet, for all the gruesome bloodshed, bigotry and hatred there is a morality present. There is an odd respect for this man driven to do detestable things.

I only have
Emmett Tullia
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating story. The brutal way of life is tough to grasp when living in our modern world. I'm glad the author didn't candy coat life back then. I'm also glad that Johnston wasn't vilified for the killing that went on. The one aspect of the book I didn't care much for was the way the authors stated over and over and over about how word of mouth stories may have some inaccuracies and they can't totally vet all the things Johnston has done. We get it. No internet, not much photography, word of m ...more
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book at a house up along the Madison River in Montana. Nothing more than the intriguing title pull my eye to it and I have to say I was ready for some historical tale.

Crow Killer is the story of John Johnston who became infamous among frontiersmen for taking out 100s of Crow Indians (and anyone else who challenged him) to exact revenge for the killing of his Flathead wife. Many recollections by several people who crossed paths with or trapped with Johnson, are pieced together to we
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thorp and Bunker don’t pretend that they are legitimate historians, but merely people passing along what they heard about Johnson from this old mountain man who heard it from that old mountain man. It is folksy and not terribly well written. I also get a little uncomfortable when reading about gruesome rapes, murders, and racist attitudes. They aren’t my favorite topics, and though Thorp and Bunker don’t really sensationalize the scenes, it is still gross.
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in the wild west era.
Shelves: history, biography
Liver-Eating Johnson was like a hybrid between Daniel Boone and a mass murderer. That sounds worse than it is; it seems like Johnson believed he never lost the moral high ground, but he really killed a lot of people (mostly Native Americans, and always in self-defense or revenge). The author seemed to think Johnson lived the way he lived because he prized personal freedom above everything else. I just wondered if Johnson liked killing people too. I'm not sure I liked him, but it was an interesti ...more
Max R.
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I find most of this account believable, based as it is on oral history gathered by the authors over the course of decades. There is one obvious "tall tale": Johnson beating off first a mountain lion and then a grizzly bear by using the frozen leg of a Blackfoot warrior after his escape from that tribe -- but I think there's little doubt he would have taken that leg as food, so it's a stretcher and not an outright lie.

If you're squeamish, this book ain't for you, but I found it highly entertainin
J.L. Day
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Randy Shytles
Phenomenal piece of historic literature. Truth is so VERY much better than fiction, the movie Jeremiah Johnson was a fantastic movie, but did not portray 1/1,000th of the complexity, the courage, the sheer audacity or the bravery of this legendary mountain man. His code of honor and ethical morality in a different time and place, not to mention cultural intricacies involved due to tribal affiliations with native Americans truly make this a Great American Epic of the Settling of the West.

This is
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing feats of physical endurance, solitude and coming to terms with a dying way of life, this man engaged in a lengthy revenge against the Crow nation for their braves killing his wife and unborn child, and claimed to have killed 300 of them. Narrative account of the life of a mountain man, which also served as the basis for the film "Jeremiah Johnson". Interestingly, the man is buried in Los Angeles, California.
Joey Torregiani
Jun 10, 2015 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
In the crow killer by raymond w. thorp, he explains that there’s a guy name johnson. Johnson was from the desert. And johnson has to survive in the wild. The book is about the mexican revolution and american revolution. Johnson finds a horse and he keeps it. Johnson survives by eating animals in the wild. Johnson had a wife and her unborn child had been killed by braves crows.
Anthony Zappia
Found this to be an interesting book. Learnt so much about the Wild West. However it is quite a bloody history, so I can't say I enjoyed reading this book.
Scalpings left, right and centre. If that appeals to you, read this book. If you enjoy history and want to get a sense of what the Old West was like, read this book.
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brutal read, but worth it. Depicts a strange time and harsh environment distant from our modern life. Most feel its fiction, but more than likely close to truth based on the mountain man "code" of the time
Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting. Makes you think how easy we have it now. John Johnston is a far cry from the Hollywood version "Jeremiah Johnson". Best line from this book "Living a life you don't have to defend is not worth living".
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Crow Killer (John Liver Eating Johnston) 2 6 Aug 30, 2012 08:45AM  
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