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South Dakota town bets big on Leonardo DiCaprio bear film

LEMMON, S.D. - A small town near the border of North and South Dakota is commemorating a grizzly tale this summer, and organizers hope a forthcoming film starring Leonardo DiCaprio will help keep the tradition alive and bring visitors to the region.

Organizers in the town of Lemmon, South Dakota, will launch the first annual Hugh Glass Rendezvous in August in advance of "The Revenant," which will be released in December.

Glass is a legend in the region for having been mauled by a grizzly in August of 1823 near what is now the Shadehill Reservoir. The frontiersman was left for dead by his fellow travelers, but survived and sought revenge.

Lemmon locals are hoping that the release of the film will generate interest in Glass' story and drive tourists to the area, and festival, reported the Bismarck Tribune.

"We're sitting on a little gold nugget," said LaQuita Shockley, a local newspaper publisher and co-organizer of the first Hugh Glass Rendezvous. "Once the movie is released, there'll be global attention, and people are going to want to walk upon the very spot."

Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Revenant." 20th Century Fox

To coincide with the first festival, renowned metal sculptor John Lopez, who has a studio on the outskirts of Lemmon, has created a scrap iron sculpture to commemorate the Glass encounter with the grizzly.

Lopez's still-unnamed sculpture will be unveiled on Aug. 29 at the Grand River Museum in Lemmon.

Lopez said the hope is that the Hugh Glass Rendezvous will become an annual event, fueled by the movie's release, in the same way Kevin Costner's "Dances with Wolves" sparked national interest in the Black Hills in the early 1990s.

"Maybe it can take off, and it would be a thing," he said. "After the movie comes out, the rendezvous will be a perfect fit for here."

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