In the essay that Miller wrote for William Walters to accompany this view of Stewart shooting a fleeing bull elk in the Black Hills west of Fort Laramie, the artist discussed the etiquette of the hunt. “When 3 or four hunters are together the shot (if valuable) is accorded to the best marksman,” he observed. The feeding of the expedition’s troop was at stake, and the result “was not to be trifled with.” (Ross, 3) Stewart was recognized as the best shot, apparently, and is portrayed here as the hunter to whom the others deferred.
In Miller’s earlier field study of this scene, an ink wash drawing that was left with Stewart for his castle library (CR# 25), there are two bull elk being targeted and two hunters (the other presumably Antoine Clement) shooting simultaneously. When fortune presented itself with such bounteous options, the rules of etiquette could be dispensed with.
Peter H. Hassrick
LC: no 60. LR: AJMiller
The artist; William T. Walters, Baltimore, MD; present owner by gift