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The article “The Mountain Man and American Anguish” Essay

In the article, “The Mountain Man and American Anguish” in the Journal of Popular Film & Television, Patrick McCarthy reflects on movie production and the image of mountain men. Contrary to how mountain men are shown in contemporary American pop culture media, McCarthy claims that there is a greater connection between that period of time and the different cultural challenges we face today. Staying consistent to the tune of his article, McCarthy claims modern media has skewed the reality of the life of the mountain man. He disagrees with how modern American pop culture portrays the mountain man. McCarthy references movies including the “Adventures of Kit Carson” and “The Oregon Trail,” as well as other movies, all of which depict mountain men as uncouth ruffians lacking any form of human nature or any civilized attributes. He attempts to illustrate that the mountain men were actually a very real reflection of contemporary society, that is people overwhelmed by lack of any control of their lives or controlled by a sadistic pleasure in inflicting pain.

According to McCarthy, many things contributed to these circumstances: remoteness, self debasement and other less than ideal conditions. It resembles current situations in which people feel the overpowering conviction that they are devoid of control over their own life and lack of liberty. The portrayal of mountain men in this fashion should convince contemporary society that finding solutions in adverse situations is within the power of any collective people. All that is necessary is determination and undying resilience. As far as can be ascertained from historical documents, mountain men demonstrated the necessary ability to carve out a living independent of outside help.

In “The Mountain Man and American Anguish,” Patrick McCarthy reveals good insight but is not free from his share of imperfections. The article bases most of its argument on how today’s film industry falsely portrays past and present cultures. The article utilizes popular culture to draw people down to earth, in respect to the vast value of how the American populace is viewed in a time of agony. The article has a limited review of the whole picture. It only reviews a limited amount of movies which is important to the picture Hollywood presents. the mountain man, it would be much better if the article listed movies with a more accurate portrayal of mountain men.

Works Cited
McCarthy, Patrick. “The Mountain Man and American Anguish.” Journal of Popular Film &


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