This scene of everyday life among Plains Indian people centers on two women watering their horses in an Edenic setting, what Miller called “a small slice of Indian paradise.” (Ross, 20) The women’s horses stand in calm, shallow water and the handsome white stallion at front lowers its head to drink. This horse’s rider wears a beaded, fringed top and a red blanket draped around her waist. Her companion, sitting astride an unpretentious mule and cast in shadow, plays second fiddle to the regal rider at her side. Indeed, the rest of the landscape, composed as it is of subtle washes of watercolor with minimal highlights, pales in comparison to the foremost female rider.
Behind the women, Miller depicts a small congregation of men on horseback. Though painted with less detail than the women, one can make out a bundle of arrows on the nearest rider’s back and feathers in each man’s hair. Miller described Indian men as being toujours prêt, or always ready, when riding their horses. According to the artist, they were routinely “armed with the bow, spear, and target” as they are depicted here. (Ross, 171)
LL: AJMiller; 13
The artist; William T. Walters, Baltimore, MD; present owner by gift