From the cloudy reservoir of history it is often difficult to separate legend from reality, and such is the case with the story of the infamous American mountain man John Johnston. It is certain that throughout his life he was known by many names, but most famously he came to be known at the time as “Crow Killer” and “Liver-Eating Johnson.”
It is said that he earned these names through his penchant for killing Crow Indians, then cutting out and eating their livers; a symbolic way of completing a revenge slaying. His personal war against the Crow tribe was an errand to avenge the murder of his wife, who had been killed by Crow warriors in 1847.
John Liver Eating Johnston, farmer, sailor, teamster, trapper, hunter, guide, scout, deputy, Union Private, trader, and more. A frontiersman born in New Jersey, sailing the seas then digging for gold in the Montana Territory and continuing to live a robust, adventurous life in the west dodging arrows, bullets, fists, weather, animals, until the frailty of old age came upon him.
John Liver Eating Johnston was known as John Johnson, Jack Johnson, John Johnston, Liver Eating Johnson, the Livereater, and probably other names no one would dare say with him nearby. He was noted to be surly, extremely strong and a loner.