The Shoshone Way

The Shoshone Way
Oil on canvas
34” x 72”
 

 


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In the early days of the fur trade, trappers often relied on guidance and information from Native Americans.  In this painting a Shoshone woman guides a fur trapping brigade out of the Teton valley over the Gros Ventre.  She wears a smoked, brain-tanned dress that is an old style, unadorned dress intended for everyday work.  The yoke is trimmed in rabbit fur.

The two gray horses in the foreground are pure-blood Spanish Barb. The breed was brought in by the Conquistadors as early as 1492 and was the first horse to set foot in North and South America.  The trapper on the left side of the painting is mounted on a Palomino.  The Palomino also originated from Spain and is not a breed but a genetic coloring.  Queen Isabella de-Bourbon loved the Palomino and maintained a herd of 100 for the exclusive enjoyment of royalty and nobles.  She sent a Palomino stallion and five mares to her Viceroy in New Spain (now Mexico).  Its popularity spread rapidly.

The trapper riding the 2nd gray has a Harpers Ferry rifle model 1803.  The expedition of Lewis and Clark carried 15 of these rifles.  The trapper leading the pack mule has a flintlock Kentucky rifle which was well known for its quality and accuracy.