This is probably the sketch for the larger painting that Miller produced for the Walters commission of a Pawnee Indian hunting. He used the Walters painting as an opportunity to tell of an encounter that his party had while en route to the rendezvous.
As hunters, keen and active in pursuit of game, the Pawnees were well enough,– in other respects we could not say much for them, a band of about 20 came down on us one day as we were encamped, and although in their war paint, and looking ripe for mischief, made signs of friendship and goodwill;– our interpreter was put into communication, and among other questions, he was directed to ask, “where are they going?” Our gravity was sorely tried by the answer they made us and the perfectly innocent looks that accompanied it. “Oh,” said they, “we are only going over here to the Mandans to try and steal a few horses.”
Concluding that their horses and mules might “answer their purposes as well” as those of the Mandans, the trappers placed “a double guard” around the camp that evening and ordered “a general overhauling of all the rifles in camp, amid the curses loud and deep of the bellicose trappers.” (Ross, 1968, text accompanying plate 68)
Miller shows a lone hunter on a cliff, his horse behind him, as he prepares to shoot an arrow at a target outside the picture frame.
LR: A. J. M. LC: Pawnee / Supplying Camp. LL: Pawnee supplying Camp. LR From Nature by A.J. Miller 1835 & 7
The artist; Carrie C. Miller, Annapolis, MD; Mae Reed Porter, Kansas City, MO; [M. Knoedler and Co., New York, NY]; InterNorth Art Foundation, Omaha, NE; present owner