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Frederic Remington, Apache Scouts Listening, 1908, Private Collection

Among the paintings that inspired such praise was an eerie moonlit scene titled Apache Scouts Listening. Between diagonal bands of cast shadows and receding trees, several Indian scouts crouch, listening to a sound outside the picture plane. At the center, a trooper, his hand to his ear, strains to hear the same unidentified sound. An entry in Remington’s ledger suggests that he composed the painting while recalling a particular threat: those who attempted to pass undetected through Indian territory feared camp dogs above all else, for their barking gave away the intruder’s position and resulted in certain death. Nowhere in his painting, however, does Remington offer a clue regarding the nature of the sound that has caused the alarm. Again, his beautifully crafted painting poses questions but offers no answers.

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