34”h x 50”w
One of Howard Terpning’s most distinquished painting’s is the next work featured in the 90th Birthday Series. Dust of Many Pony Soldiers was unveiled at the 1981 Cowboy Artists of America show. That evening the work was awarded the Gold Award for Painting, the Colt Award (Artists’ Choice), as well as the Best of Show Award.
This canvas, the fifth in the series, depicts three Sioux Indians standing on a hill watching the approach in the distance of a troop of cavalry. To the naked eye, it appears to be nothing more than a dust cloud but the monocular, or telescope, a prized possession of the Indian, shows that they are indeed calvary.
Describing this painting Terpning wrote, “When I began I considered a background in shadow … all pine trees … a dark area above the grass. I had done a careful drawing, but not in value. When I brushed on the paint, it became obvious that was not going to work at all. So after fiddling with it, I realized that the picture needed a feeling of vast space, so in light value I carried those hills off into the distance. This party of Sioux Warriors is rather pitifully armed, flintlocks and such. One warrior is peering at a tower of dust rising far away with his telescope. He sees that the dust is raised by a large body of cavalrymen, or in Indian thinking, pony soldiers. The group’s faces are expressions of fear, anger and anxiety when discovering the approach of the troopers”
The Companion Remarque paper print, Flintlock Rifle, highlights the disparity in armament Plains Indians had in protecting their homelands during the Wesward Expansion. In the end, even these warriors’ bravery and determination could not stem the encroaching tide.