Burgess Finding a Ford (illustration from Frederic Remington's Pony Tracks, 1895), 1895
Frederic Remington (American, 1861–1909)
Watercolor on paper; 20 1/2 x 30 1/2 in. (52.1 x 77.5 cm)
Anonymous Gift, 1962 (62.241.2)
Remington's career as a writer developed simultaneously with that of an illustrator, painter, and sculptor. Pony Tracks was his first illustrated anthology, a collection of articles about eyewitness stories of army life on the western borders. Dedicated to "the fellows who rode the ponies that made the tracks," the book was published by Harper's in July 1895. Burgess Finding a Ford, one of seventy chapter illustrations, accompanies the chapter "Policing the Yellowstone." Here Burgess, a government scout for nearly forty-five years, leads a group of soldiers and pack mules safely through a spongy mountain meadow: "We curved and zigzagged through its treacherous mazes, fording and recrossing the stream in search of solid ground. Burgess's little gray pony put his foot forward in a gingerly way, and when satisfied, plunged in and floundered through."