David K. Stone (American, 1922 – 2001) “The Indian Scout” Signed lower right. Original Oil painting on Canvas.
Provenance: Collection of James A. Helzer (1946-2008), Founder of Unicover Corporation.
This painting originally appeared in the Fleetwood Trails West Collection of Fine Art Prints as “The Bozeman Trail” published in 1983.
America’s pioneers viewed the rolling country of what is now Wyoming and Montana as a vast wasteland … something to be crossed as quickly as possible on the way to the comfort and riches of the Far West. However, to the Crow Indians these vast prairies were sacred and beautiful. The mightly buffalo grazed the tall bending grasses. Indeed, a treaty signed by the Indians and the U.S. Government at Fort Laramie in 1851 guaranteed Indian rights in these fertile plains. But after gold was discovered in southwestern Montana in 1862, a white man proposed to run wagon trains through this land … from the Oregon Trail to the northern mountains. The consequences, as the wiser Indians well knew, would be disastrous. For everywhere else on the plains, the coming of the white man had meant the disappearance of the buffalo. The threat to these last herds was intolerable. So, when John Bozeman … a miner turned trail guide … blazed a suitable wagon trail to the gold country, Indians successfully turned back the first wagon train. However, on July 1, 1864, Bozeman organized another party and completed the first trip, which only intensified the Indians’ anger. As a result, by 1866 three Army forts guarded the trail as it coursed through dangerous Indian country.
Size: 18 x 20.75 in.