The Dragoons patrolled land west of the Mississippi River beginning in the 1830s, when settlers started moving west. The lead horse, which is saddled and bridled but without a rider, has presumably been stolen. The military men are trying to recover it from the two American Indians on horseback.
The Dragoons seem to have the upper hand at this particular moment in the running fight. One of them, seated tall in his saddle, raises his saber at the Indian, who only has a skin shield with which to defend himself.
The sabers, rifles, saddles, bedrolls, canteens, packs, and buffalo skins are crafted with great attention to detail. This particular buffalo skin, trailing off one of the horses, also helps support the structure, connecting figures to a base.
This horse is suspended in midair, lending a cinematic quality to the sculpture. The photographs of Eadweard Muybridge influenced Remington's stop-action depictions of equine movement.
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The Old Dragoons of 1850, 1905; cast 1907 Frederic Remington (American) Bronze Rogers Fund, 1907 (07.77)