Born near Boston, Elwell began his career when he sketched Buffalo Bill's Wild West performances for the Boston Globe. Buffalo Bill Cody befriended and invited him to his T E Ranch in Wyoming. Elwell sketched and worked on the ranch becoming manager in 1896, a job he held for 25 years. Winchester Arms, United States Cartridge, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, Tower Slicker, Samoset Chocolate, Ladies Home Journal, and publisher Little Brown & Company used his illustrations. Elwell also lived at Wickenburg, Arizona, and spent his last years in Phoenix. This painting was found in an abandoned house in Arizona. Another version of Prairie Fire appeared on the cover of All Western Magazine, December 1933. This purchase was funded by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Josserand and can be viewed in the PPHM Southwestern Gallery.