The Snow Trail exhibits some of the weaknesses in Russell’s oil paintings of this period, possibly representing a necessary transition in his artistic evolution and his movement away from subjects based on close personal experience. However, Russell’s careful observation of detail is reflected in the clothing of the American Indians, favored by the Blackfeet, the shaggy winter coats of the horses and the strong features of the leader, who resembles the great Blackfoot Chief, Crowfoot. Indigenous Americans preferred to winter in protected river bottoms away from the blizzards sweeping the plain and only moved when necessity, such as scarcity of game, exhaustion of wood for fuel or grass for the horses, dictated.
The Snow Trail
Artist: Charles M. Russell Year Completed: 1897 Medium: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 18 x 25.375 inches