Elk Grazing on an Autumn Prairie

The numbers and variety of game on the Plains provided a varied diet for Catlin and the soldiers and traders who lived along the frontier. In 1835, Catlin returned from Fort Snelling to Prairie du Chien, this time by canoe, living principally on game during the trip. My voyage from the mouth of the Teton River to this place has been the most rugged, yet the most delightful, of my whole Tour. Our canoe was generally landed at night on the point of some projecting barren sand-bar, where we straightened our limbs on our buffalo robes, secure from the annoyance of mosquitos, and out of the walks of Indians and grizzly bears. In addition to the opportunity which this descending Tour has afforded me, of visiting all the tribes of Indians on the river, and leisurely filling my portfolio with the beautiful scenery which its shores present — the sportsman’s fever was roused and satisfied; the swan, ducks, geese, and pelicans — the deer, antelope, elk, and buffaloes, were stretched’ by our rifles.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 32, 1841; reprint 1973)

Elk Grazing on an Autumn Prairie
Not on view
20 1827 38 in. (51.069.4 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Landscape – plain
  • Western
  • Figure group – male
  • Landscape – season – autumn
Object Number
Linked Open Data
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