Study Guide

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge Chapter 6: August 31, 1823

By Michael Punke

Chapter 6: August 31, 1823

  • A day later, Bridger is fixing his moccasins when he decides that Glass could use some TLC. Huh—y'think?
  • Remembering his mom's homespun medical techniques, Bridger gathers pine gum and bark to treat Glass's wounds. Most of them are looking pretty good, but the ones on his back are wicked infected.
  • Glass can feel these treatments working as he lays in a half-conscious daze. He still can't move or talk, but he feels his body "marshaling itself for another, decisive battle" (1.6.9).
  • When Fitzgerald returns, he continues his routine mocking of poor young Bridger. This time, however, Bridger has had enough—he points his rifle at Fitzgerald's head and threatens to shoot.
  • Fitzgerald is actually impressed, though he does helpfully point out that Bridger doesn't have flint in his gun. D'oh!
  • Backstory time, y'all.
  • Bridger is nineteen years old, born and raised outside of St. Louis. He had a great childhood filled with outdoor exploration, but this bliss was cut short when his mom, dad, and older brother all died when he was thirteen. That's the bummer to end all bummers.
  • Bridger ended up working on a ferry shuttling up and down the Mississippi, but that work wasn't too fulfilling. He wanted to go to the frontier.
  • After returning to St. Louis to become a blacksmith's apprentice, Bridger stumbled across Henry's ad for the fur company. Finally his opportunity had arrived.
  • In the present, Fitzgerald notices that Glass has a fever and claims that it's the "death sweats" (1.6.45). He tells Bridger to get things ready while he scouts ahead.
  • As he walks ahead, Fitzgerald hears the whinny of a horse. Uh oh. Fitzgerald peers through the shade and sees a group of five natives on the other side of the Grand River.
  • Fitzgerald rushes back to camp and tells Bridger that trouble's brewing, which means that they better get to scooting.
  • What follows is the same scene we witnessed in the prologue chapter, this time from Bridger and Fitzgerald's perspective. From this point of view, we can see that Bridger only runs away out of fear and confusion.