Jeremiah Johnson is one of those films that not only explores the wilderness but also the wild world around him with Native Americans and future conflict. Similar to the well-known “Western” genre, movies like Jeremiah Johnson reveal that not all is good in the wilderness, but happiness is possible. If you enjoyed this 1972 film, check out our list of fifteen other movies like Jeremiah Johnson.
15. The Mountain Men, Philo and Prime Video (1980)
Our first selection for movies like Jeremiah Johnson is titled The Mountain Men, and is a quintessential Western movie. In the film, two old-time Wyoming fur trappers are hunting for the perfect beaver spot while fighting off Native Americans and guzzling bears. When they meet a runaway Native American woman though, they must protect her from her angry ex-mate, all while trekking through the wilderness.
IMDb score – 6.3/10
Set in the 1840s during the height of westward expansion, six settlers and their guide have found themselves in a dangerous situation — lost, dwindling food and water, and the desert threatens to claim them all — in Meek’s Cutoff. When a Native American is captured by the group, one of the settlers shields him from Meek’s (the guide) wrath, and in return, he offers to lead the group to water. Not only will the constant danger keep you glued to the screen, but it also reveals a small piece of the hardships of traveling west in the 1800s.
IMDb score – 6.5/10
13. The Homesman, Prime Video and Pluto TV (2014)
In The Homesman, Hilary Swank stars as Mary Bee Cuddy, a frontier farmer who saves the life of low-life drifter George Briggs. In return, Cuddy asks Briggs to assist her by helping transport three women who have suffered breakdowns from pioneer life to a haven in Iowa.
IMDb score – 6.6/10
12. The Scalphunters, Tubi and Prime Video (1968)
The Scalphunters may be a little brutal in some scenes, but it digs into the Western genre with its weight on trapping, Native Americans, and the wilderness. In the film, illiterate fur trapper Joe Bass is coerced by a group of Kiowa Native Americans into trading his haul for a well-educated escaped slave. While trying to track the Native Americans to take back his haul, Bass runs into a group of scalp hunters who want to kill the Native Americans, take the furs for themselves, and resell the slave.
IMDb score – 6.7/10
Though not completely focused on the Western genre, there are still some strong notes of the ferocity of the wilderness in The Grey. While flying home from a five-week shift at an Alaskan oil refinery, a brutal storm causes the plane to crash in the frozen tundra and only eight men survive. As they try to get to safety, the men must battle mortal injuries, the icy elements, and a pack of hungry wolves watching their every move.
IMDb score – 6.7/10
10. Man in the Wilderness, Prime Video and Apple TV (1971)
Set in the early 1800s, Man in the Wilderness highlights an expedition of trappers in the American Northwest who encounter a bear while hunting. Their scout Zach is mauled, and although his wounds are treated by the medic, the leader Henry believes he will die and the group leaves him behind. Unfortunately for Henry, he has underestimated Zach’s will to live, and he not only survives but regains his strength, and is now determined to track down the group and get his revenge.
IMDb score – 6.8/10
9. Nevada Smith, Apple TV and Prime Video (1966)
Nevada Smith follows a young man named Max Sand, who is half Native American and half white, who witnesses the brutal murder of his parents and vows to track down the men who killed them. Along the way he meets Jonas Cord, a gunsmith who tries to dissuade Sand of his vendetta but later teaches him how to shoot a gun. With his new skills, the young avenger takes down his enemies one by one and from then on calls himself Nevada Smith, plunging further into the Wild West.
IMDb score – 6.9/10
8. The Big Sky, Tubi and PLEX (1952)
Based on the novel by AB Guthrie Jr., The Big Sky is set in 1832 with two tough Kentucky mountaineers who join a trading expedition from St. Louis, traveling up the Missouri River to trade whiskey for furs with the Blackfoot tribe. When they begin their journey, they soon realize that there is much more than the elements to contend with in the wild American countryside.
IMDb score – 6.9/10
7. Black Robe, Peacock and Pluto TV (1991)
Though not pretty in the slightest, I appreciated Black Robe for showing the struggles between the European settlers and Native Americans in the New World. Set in 1634, Father LaForgue, a Jesuit priest, is traveling to the Americas to search for a remote Canadian mission which is surrounded by Huron settlements. Led into the wilderness by a group of distrustful yet kind Algonquins, they must trek into the cold weather and vicious attacks of the Iroquois to find the mission LaForgue seeks.
IMDb score – 7.1/10
20 Shows Like Yellowstone
Diving deep into the West, it makes sense why this film set in 1892 is titled Hostiles. Army Captain Joseph Blocker agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back to their tribal land from New Mexico to Montana. Encountering a widow along the way, they all must group together in order to survive the punishing landscape, and the bands of hostile Comanches roaming the hillsides.
IMDb score – 7.2/10
5. Never Cry Wolf, Tubi and Vudu (1983)
The next addition to our movies like Jeremiah Johnson list is Never Cry Wolf. Focusing on research scientist Tyler, he is sent to the Canadian tundra to figure out whether the local wolf population is the cause for declining numbers in the caribou herds. With help from local Inuit native Ootek, Tyler is able to establish an observation post and studies the wolves and caribou. He then realizes that the worst danger to caribou doesn’t walk on four legs, rather two.
IMDb score – 7.5/10
4. The Last of the Mohicans, Tubi and Apple TV (1992)
One of the most recognizable Native American films comes in the form of The Last of the Mohicans, and obviously has earned a spot on our movies like Jeremiah Johnson list. The last dregs of the Mohicans live in peace alongside British colonists until the daughters of a British colonel are kidnapped by a traitorous scout, and now Hawkeye and Uncas must rescue them in the crossfire of a war they never wanted — the French and Indian War.
IMDb score – 7.7/10
3. The Searchers, Prime Video and Apple TV (1956)
One of the classic Westerns is The Searchers starring John Wayne, Natalie Wood, and Jeffrey Hunter, and earns the third spot on our movies like Jeremiah Johnson list. After the Civil War, Ethan Edwards returns home to Texas, but when members of his brother’s family are killed or abducted by Comanches, he vows to track down his surviving family and bring them home. After hearing word that his niece and her adopted brother are alive, he will embark on a dangerous mission right into the heart of Comanche territory.
IMDb score – 7.8/10
2. Dances With Wolves, Pluto TV and Prime Video (1990)
Another Western classic is Dances With Wolves, earning the second spot on our movies like Jeremiah Johnson list. In the movie, a Civil War soldier develops a relationship with a group of Lakota Indians while at a post. Attracted by their simplified lifestyles, he abandons his former life and earns the name Dances With Wolves. He becomes a true member of the tribe and even falls for a white woman who has been raised in the tribe. But, all is not happy when Union soldiers arrive, with designs on the land that will negatively impact all of the Lakotas.
IMDb score – 8/10
1. The Revenant, Fubo TV and Hulu (2015) / Movies Like Jeremiah Johnson
Last but most certainly not least on our movies like Jeremiah Johnson list is The Revenant. Set in 1823, frontiersman Hugh Glass sustains life-threatening injuries from a bear attack. When a member of his hunting group kills his young son and leaves him for dead, Glass must now use his survival skills to find a way back home. Grief-stricken and ablaze with vengeance, the fur trapper treks through the snow to track down the man who betrayed him.
IMDb score – 8/10
The Western genre is nostalgic, and even though the genre has dwindled, there are still some great films of the past that highlight the ruggedness and vastness of the wilderness and those who live there. Jeremiah Johnson embodies this spirit, so if you enjoyed that movie, make sure to watch one of these other movies like Jeremiah Johnson and dive back into the Western mindset.