This sketch probably resulted from an incident that Miller heard of (for he probably would have had no opportunity to observe such a fight) or is an illustration that he prepared to show a particular way in which Indians used their shields. As he described it in his caption for Walters, “Although this Sioux Indian has an immense range of his own to hunt over, he is not content with it, and we find him here on the grounds of the Blackfeet,” who, on the bluff, have “discovered the marauder, and are discharging their arrows at him and in a rage because they are not nearer to secure his scalp.” The point of the illustration is the way in which the Indian is defending himself. As Miller explained, “His shield is covered with bull’s hide, and becomes so tough in course of time, that no arrows can penetrate its surface.” So, as he flees from his adversaries, who are raining arrows down on him, he holds the shield behind him to protect his head and body. Should he be wounded in an unprotected arm or leg, he would continue his flight. “When no longer pursued he sits down and cuts out the arrow, compressing the wound with a bandage drawn tightly round it, enclosing medicinal plants if they are to be found.” (Ross, 1968, text accompanying plate 95; Bell, 1973, p. 72)
This is probably the sketch from which Miller made as many as six copies.
The artist; by descent to Mrs. Laurence R. Carton; [M. Knoedler and Company, New York, NY, 1965]; InterNorth Art Foundation, Omaha, NE; present owner