Miller was fascinated by this young man. He described him as “about 17 years of age” and of mixed Indian and Canadian Anglo descent. He was born and raised in Montreal, but had been hired as a hunter by Stewart in Saint Louis.
Miller adorned and surrounded Pierre with a detailed array of possessions. His hat, for example, is festooned with “two turkey feathers, a fox-tail brush, and his dear darling pipe.” The pipe “was his solace in all his troubles,” wrote Miller. “When he suffered from thirst, he smoked, when the Buffalo vexed him, he smoked, when joyous he smoked, and the same in sorrow.” (Ross, 53)
The artist liked to position his characters atop a knoll with a second scene unfolding below. Here the expedition’s tents are arrayed against a broad prairie. The travel for the day has come to an end, giving Pierre a chance to rest and Miller an opportunity to sketch such an ideal model.
Peter H. Hassrick