The lightly sketched background tree, with thin layers of watercolor applied on top, is painted in the style of the watercolors in Stewart’s album. As in some of the Stewart sketches, there are also passages where Miller rubbed out the pigment to create lighter areas. These techniques, together with the small size of the image, the surface wear, and even a visible finger print in the upper left of the image, suggest that this work may have been begun in the field.
If it originated in the field, Miller appears to have gone over the central figure later in the studio. The horse and rider are covered in an opaque, polychrome pigment, fortified with gum Arabic and gouache. The horse has a thick fur on his hindquarters and a long, fringed mane characteristic of horses in the Walters watercolors of 1858 – 60.
There are no other versions of this particular composition, but the figure of the mounted Indian with lance riding across the sheet parallel to the picture plane is a motif Miller repeats in many of his images.
On mount: Shoshone. Wind River
The artist; by descent to Louisa Whyte Norton; [Old Print Shop, New York, NY, 1947]; [Edward Eberstadt and Sons, New York, NY]; William R. Coe, Oyster Bay, MD; present owner by gift