Watching the Wagons
“Gathering storm clouds symbolize the approaching conflict as Indians worriedly observe settler wagons just beyond effective rifle range,” wrote Frank McCarthy. “In the beginning people were mostly just passing through, but as settlers increasingly dropped off to stay, it was clear that the Indians’ claim to the land was threatened.”
A massive thunderstorm gathering in the background adds drama to this painting and symbolizes the growing storm between settler and Native American. A group of Sioux watch as an early wagon train pushes west. The Native Americans were not yet ready to fight for they had not yet lost their buffalo or vast lands. But as the influx continued, these events would come to pass and the gathering storm would break and unleash its fury on the prairie.