Given its small size and inexpensive price (Miller recorded it as $33 in his account book), this oil on canvas is likely the version listed as “Reconnoitre,” a “cabinet” or small format picture for the Baltimore collector Dr. Thomas Edmondson. Edmondson, characterized as “one of most acquisitive collectors of the city’s history,” owned upwards of two-hundred paintings, including many by local Baltimore artists. A loyal and early patron, he purchased a portrait, old master copy, or western scene from Miller every few years until his death in 1856. These included Indian Caressing His Horse (CR# 420A) and an unlocated version of Caravan (CR# 60B).
For this smaller canvas, as in the watercolor versions, Miller chose a vertical format to frame the horse and rider rather than including the broad valley below. Although his compositional arrangement is assured, Miller appears to have struggled with rendering the painting in oil on the scale of a watercolor. His handling of the horse, particularly its head, and rider is somewhat stiff and mannered in comparison to the more relaxed rendering of the 1851 version at the Denver Public Library. Likewise, the foliage is heavily blended, with a thin surface that is lacking in detail.