In the 1890s in particular, Russell gave free expression to his fondness for domestic scenes from American Indian life. The Brave’s Return records a tender moment as two women gaze up from their chores to find their warrior-husband returning safely from a raiding expedition or a hunting trip. There is no indication of what he has accomplished—no freshly-killed game, just a tired man about to dismount from an equally tired horse. Through Russell’s eyes we see the plains Indian in his family setting, a fully rounded individual; the wife’s shy reaction in drawing her blanket around her bespeaks her affection and possibly the length of his absence. The returned warrior will receive a properly respectful reception.
The Brave’s Return
Artist: Charles M. Russell Year Completed: c. 1891 Medium: Watercolor, pencil & gouache on paper Dimensions: 21.25 x 31.875 inches