Frederic Remington (American, 1861–1909)
26 7/8 x 47 x 17 in. (68.3 x 119.4 x 43.2 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1907 (07.77)
Remington's extremely ambitious group, copyrighted in 1905, includes five horses and four riders: two American cavalrymen and two Plains Indians. The soldiers, known as Dragoons, were trained from the 1830s on to combat the Plains Indians, considered among the most formidable mounted fighters of all time. Here the Dragoons have closed in on the fleeing Indians, and the four men are locked in hand-to-hand combat. While Remington depicted the historically correct military dress, rifles, and accoutrements of the Dragoons, his Indians are closer in type to the tribes he had known in the West in the 1880s and 1890s. As in many of his sculptures, the artist seemed to be challenging himself to have as few of the horses' hooves touch the ground as possible; of twenty hooves, only seven do. Because of the intricacy of The Old Dragoons, only three casts were made during Remington's lifetime; this cast is the third, done by November 1907.