Born around 1824 in New Jersey, Johnston headed west after deserting from the U.S. Navy and became a well-known and infamous mountain man. His many lives would involve him working as a miner, hunter, trapper, bootlegger, woodcutter, and army scout. When his Flathead Indian wife and child were killed by Crow Indians while he was away hunting and trapping, he swore to avenge their deaths and began his next life as a man after revenge . He killed hundreds and earned his nickname because he was said to cut out and eat his victims’ livers. Twenty-five years after his wife’s death, his life would take another turn when he joined the Union Army in Missouri. And that was just the start of his second act.