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Artist label with signature, title, and date
Typed artist’s description of painting
Label, Trailside Galleries, Jackson, Wyoming

The artist wrote, “Horse raiding was an important part of the Plains Indians culture. The idea was to cut the picket ropes and lead the best horses away by stealth. But a dog barks and the camp is aroused; the raiders leave without ceremony, with a few captured animals and no dignity.”

As noted by Richard Conn in Circles of the World: Traditional Art of the Plains Indians, “While stealing any horse earned some merit for the thief, valuable animals brought greatest honor. Most prized by the Plains people were their ‘buffalo runners.’ Trained to run unflinchingly beside a thundering bison so that their riders could have both hands free to shoot, these hunting mounts were so precious that they were herded apart and kept under guard at all times; at night they were picketed by their owners’ tipis. There are even accounts of men sleeping with hackamore ropes tied to their arms or legs as a further deterrent to prowling horse stealers. The greater the risk, the sweeter the prize, however, and some Plains warriors became specialists in stealing livestock. Novices began with the least valuable animals grazing outside camp in herds guarded only by one or two adolescents. In this situation a group of horses could quickly be driven off while a friend stampeded the others to delay pursuit. Experienced thieves could creep into sleeping camps and take better animals with tactics that were proof against harness bells, wakeful owners, and even hackamore ropes. The skill of Plains horse thieves was documented in 1872 when, under the very nose of army sentries, a group of Comanches ‘requisitioned’ fifty-one government animals from a stone-walled corral at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.”

Trailside Galleries, Jackson, Wyoming
Oklahoma Publishing Company, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Private collection, Texas, 2013

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