“We came suddenly upon a long line of beautiful Indian tents ranging in regular order, and stretching away for at least two miles in perspective, and terminating in a wide and circular array of the same romantic and fairy-looking dwellings,” recalled David L. Brown, a member of the expedition. It was an idyllic scene, and Miller climbed a low hill nearby and painted it for Stewart.
The rendezvous was a grand affair, reminding Brown of the “storied wonders of my childhood and early youth…pouring over the delightful pages of Scott and Froissart.” Trappers, Indians, traders, and hangers-on gathered there. Some trappers worked for the fur companies, while others (“free” trappers) worked for themselves and sold for the best price they could get. But, as Miller found out, the rendezvous was more than just business. It was the highlight of the year in the mountains, “one continued scene of drunkenness, gambling, and brawling and fighting, as long as the money and the credit of the trappers last[ed],” wrote George Frederick Ruxton. “The trappers drop in singly and in small bands, bringing their packs of beaver to this mountain market, not unfrequently to the value of a thousand dollars each, the produce of one hunt…. The goods brought by the traders, although of the most inferior quality, are sold at enormous prices.” When the trappers and Indians were not trading, they were racing horses, wrestling, matching marksmanship, or chasing buffaloes. (Brown, 1950, p. 10; Ruxton, 1950, p. 230)
The man in the white buckskin on the white horse (with his back to the viewer) may be Stewart.
UL: Blkfeet as hostages [illeg.]eds [illeg.] waters; UR: Encampment on Green/River-at the base/of the Rocky Mountains
The artist; Carrie C. Miller, Annapolis, MD; Porter Collection; [M. Knoedler and Company, New York]; present owner