Miller recorded the setting of this painting as “Horse-shoe Creek,” a waterway located in the North Platte River Valley in present-day eastern Wyoming. The artist passed through this area with the American Fur Company caravan on their northwesterly route from Fort Laramie to the Rendezvous. River Scene is the only image of Horseshoe Creek identified as such by the artist among the two hundred studio watercolors he painted for William T. Walters in 1858 – 1860.
In this scene, Miller situates three Indian riders against a tranquil backdrop, depicting the Horseshoe Creek shoreline as such a “sweet spot of earth” that one might guess a “congregation of the elves…had shaped it for themselves.” (Ross, 171) Miller’s poetic description in words and watercolor provides a unique perspective on the area before large-scale Euro-American settlement.
The artist; William T. Walters, Baltimore, MD; present owner by gift