Charles M. Russell (1864-1926), Wild Horse Hunters, 1913, Oil on canvas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Amon G. Carter Collection, 1961.209

During Russell's time, small bands of wild horses, each dominated by a stallion, roamed throughout Montana and other parts of the West. Here, a group of riders have cornered one such band at the end of a dry gully. As the riders converge on the frightened horses, one has flung his lariat across the gully to rope the stallion, which desperately tries to scramble up the side of the gully with the mares and colts. The rider has wrapped his lariat around the saddle horn and deftly swings his weight off the saddle to counterbalance the pull of the taut rope. During the period Russell painted this vibrant work, some writers criticized his use of vivid color, which reminded them of a "tinted picture postal card." But Russell defended his color, saying that such effects were true to life and very much what the viewer would see in the Montana landscape.


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