In the article the author seeks to follow the history of the term “mountain man” and to point to the scope of its functioning in various literary, cultural and environmental contexts. The author draws on both examples from literature and various types of narratives disseminated through the new media. Referring to the various ways of defi ning the term and then using it in various types of discourses, he examines its transformation from an archetype (discussing, first of all, the evolution in the way of seeing highlanders as the first inhabitants of the mountains and the links between this notion, as well as the term “mountain man” and its use with regard to people visiting the mountains disinterestedly in search of aesthetic or other experiences) to a stereotype of the “mountain man” strongly rooted in the modern collective consciousness and imagination. An important context for the present analysis is provided by the history of European imperialism and colonialism. The article features a number of examples from writings by Polish and foreign authors.