George Catlin, ‘Buffalo Hunt Approaching in a Ravine’, 1844, Kiechel Fine Art

Plate #11 of Catlin's "North American Indian Portfolio: Hunting Scenes and Amusements of the Rocky Mountains and Prairies of America" 1844.

"This plate represents the familiar mode of procuring meat, practiced by all the voyageurs on the Missouri and other streams of that country, who run their canoes ashore where the buffaloes or other animals are discovered grazing on the bands, and cautiously stealing up under cover of a bank or other protection, shoot down the fattest of the herd. In one of my homeward voyages I descended the Missouri river the distance of 2000 miles in a canoe, having but my two hired men, “Bogard and Ba’tiste,” to paddle, whilst I steered with the steering-oar. Nearly the whole of this distance was through a wild and uncultivated country of boundless green fields, inhabited only by the various Indian tribes, and the wild animals that graze upon it. Our beds were every night made in the grass, amongst the lilies and other wild flowers that everywhere spot and enamel the beautiful grassy banks of that mighty and ugly river. During the most of that voyage our food was simply buffalo meat, without bread or coffee; and in the illustration is given a very good account of one of the instances in which Bogard, Ba’tiste, and I, stepped ashore, under a beautiful range of bluffs, near the mouth of Cannon-ball River, with a view of replenishing our larder. We had for many miles been in sight of a fine herd, reposing in a beautiful vale; and having silently landed our little craft under the bank, we cautiously ascended the sloping side of a ravine, which brought us within pistol-shot of the unsuspecting herd, when at the whispered signal, “ready, fire!” each rifle brought down its victim, and our canoe was soon lined with the choicest cuts of their flesh, and again adrift upon the current. The landscape view here given is strictly a portrait, and well illustrates much of the peculiar scenery on the banks of the Upper Missouri."

About George Catlin