This watercolor stands out from the other images in the Stewart album due to the complexity of its composition and its vivid hues. Miller has laid down a series of transparent blue, green, gray, olive, and buff washes on what would have been a wet sheet. He then used pen and ink and darker washes to pull out the forms of figures, trees, and horses. The cool background colors are punctuated with brilliant reds and blues of the blankets and coats of the travelers. The sheet itself shows buckling from the drying process, but it does not show evidence of sketching or re-working, making it likely that this was a studio work rather than a field sketch.
At the head of the caravan is Stewart, set off against the darker mass of figures by his signature buckskin suit and his white horse. He holds himself erect in an elegant pose, one arm lifted to hold his reigns, the other extended at his side. Behind him, identifiable by their fringed buckskin jackets and hats, are the trappers and hunters of his party. They are surrounded by a larger group of Indians, men to their left and women, one of whom has a child in a cradleboard hanging from her saddle, to their right. The party is followed by a herd of fresh horses and, pulling up the rear, a long row of covered wagons which carried supplies.
The artist; Sir William Drummond Stewart, 1839; Frank Nichols Stewart, 1971; [Chapman’s, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1971]; Bonamy Mansell Power; willed to Edward Power, 1900; by descent to Major G.H. Power, Great Yarmouth, England, 1966; [Edward Eberstadt and Sons for Frederick William Beinecke]; present owner by gift