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Scouting the Long Knives
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 Southwest. 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.