Perhaps in an attempt to add more suspense to what should already have been a very exciting scene, Miller altered the text he wrote to accompany the version of this sketch in the Walters collection. In the Brown text, Miller focuses more on the urgency of the situation. He tells us that at the first appearance of the fire, the whole camp sprang to action. One trapper set a small fire as a fire break while his partner quickly extinguished it. Using vivid language, Miller recounts the rushed activity in the face of imminent destruction, and the recalcitrance of the horses and mules. He also adds the dramatic detail of the trappers finally setting fire to the grass between the prairie fire and the camp in order to head it off. Although the composition is quite similar to that of the Walters and Joslyn versions, Miller has exaggerated the actions of the two figures in the center foreground of this watercolor and has heightened the coloring with the addition of pink and orange hues along the horizon.
LC: AJMiller Pt. LR on mat: No. 32./Prairie on Fire.
The artist; Alexander Brown, Liverpool, England, 1867; by descent to Mrs. J.B. Jardine, Chesterknows, Scotland, 1946; present owner by gift