Despite the power of the setting sun and its haloed reflection on the prairie floor at the right side of this composition, the narrative of this work actually unfolds from the lower left corner. It is here that the silhouetted profile of Etienne Provost, reputed to have been one of the discoverers of the Great Salt Lake, projects itself in front of the fabled explorer’s tent. “Adipose & rotonde,” as Miller described him, Provost was known for “larding the earth as he walks,” and for his “stentorian lungs” that could bawl out orders in French and English as the occasion demanded. Here he calls out to the riders and teamsters to catch their horses for the night as they are herded in from a late afternoon’s grazing. It made for an animated scene and an amusing picture.
Peter H. Hassrick