Scouting the Long Knives
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In artist Frank McCarthy’s Wild West his subjects often appear as heroes in action – riding hard, looking good and, inevitably, living to fight another day. Whatever the subject – Indians, cowboys or cavalry – there is often a commotion or disturbance going on. Leather flying, guns firing, sabers slashing through the air, wind tossing horses’ manes – this is the action packed West of Frank McCarthy.
In “Scouting the Long Knives,” an Apache is concealed behind an anvil-shaped remnant of an ancient red sandstone formation, spying on a column of cavalry and supply wagons. Known to the Indians as “long knives” because of the long sabers they carried, the U.S. Cavalry patrolled immense areas of the South-west. Sometimes the patrols were out for weeks at a time, with little or no sight of hostile Indians. But the Indians were always there, scouting the scouters. In a land that seemed so empty, there were always eyes that watched and waited.