In this version of The War Party (CR# 383A), painted for patron Alexander Brown, Miller has hewed close to the composition of the Walters watercolor by including the foreground pair of Indian riders and the group of three riding ahead in the distance. He also includes the same costume and loose hairstyle present in the Walters image. However, he has added a rock outcropping to the left and removed the additional figures.
In his accompanying note, Miller elaborates on his negative characterization of the Blackfeet in the Walters note. Not only are the Blackfeet he describes the most warlike of all Plains people, and the enemies of all Indians, they are also, “decidedly rough riders, and have very little mercy for their horses.” For Miller, who particularly liked horses, and lavished attention on them in his sketches, this was a strong indictment. The Blackfeet, who were the last of the Plains people to enter into treaty negotiations with the United States, and who prevented easy overland travel through their land, were negatively portrayed in the contemporary press, and thus made an easy villain for Miller’s western dramas.
LR: AJMiller. Pt. LR on mat: No. 28./The Blackfeet
The artist; Alexander Brown, Liverpool, England, 1867; by descent to Mrs. J.B. Jardine, Chesterknowes, Scotland; present owner by gift