During the summer of 1910, Leigh traveled to Cody, Wyoming on a hunting expedition. On this trip, he first encountered the Northern Plains Indians that inspired paintings such as this.
In the library of Leigh’s childhood home there was a buffalo rug on which he would lie while his father read accounts of the Indian Wars in the West.
An excellent draftsman and illustrator, William Robinson Leigh studied his craft in Munich at a time when Paris was turning towards impressionism. Though Leigh publicly decried this movement, his use of color leans towards the impressionistic.
Wanting to be a fine artist and not an illustrator, in 1906, Leigh persuaded Santa Fe Railway to send him west in return for a painting of the Grand Canyon. His ability to portray horses and other animals with absolute accuracy made him a much sought-after western painter.