Horses were essential to nineteenth-century civilizations and radically changed the Indians’ lives once they acquired them. Horses had made it possible for the Indians to advance from sedentary villages along the edges of the forest to enlarge their hunting grounds by chasing the buffaloes on the prairie and take up a nomadic life style. They stole horses from each other and measured their wealth by their herds.
It should not be surprising that Indian women rode horses for both work (retrieving strays) and entertainment (the chase), but, according to Miller it was not an unusual event, although they were not as adept at riding as the men, who regarded their efforts “with contempt.” (Ross, 1968, text accompanying plate 137)
This painting is a good example of what Smithsonian ethnologist John Ewers considered to be a loss of vigor as compared with Miller’s field sketches. (Ewers, 1973, p. 115)
LL: AJMiller. LR on mat: No. 6. / Wild Horses. / “Throwing the Lasso."
The artist; [?]; Alexander Brown, Liverpool, England (1867); by descent to Mrs. J. B. Jardine, Chesterknowes, Scotland; present owner