Big Nose George and the Road Agents by Charles M. Russell

Name: Big Nose George and the Road Agents | Artist: Charles M. Russell Media: Pencil, watercolor and gouache on paper | Year(s): 1895
Charles M. Russell | Big Nose George and the Road Agents | 1895 | Pencil, watercolor and gouache on paper | 14 inches x 20 inches

About the Work

Big Nose George and the Road Agents and The Ambush done a year later both attest to Russell's continuing fascination with a gang of Black Hills holdup men active in the late 1870s. "Big Nose George" Parrot was arrested in Miles city, tried in Rawlins, Wyoming and hanged by vigilantes in 1881-only a year after Russell arrived in Montana, an impressionable youth of sixteen. Not surprisingly, Big Nose George caught Russell's attention. Despite the dark picture of road agents as cold-blooded murderers, Russell included them in a toast "to all old timers" that he addressed to Robert Vaught, Montana pioneer and good friend, in 1911.

Here's to the hold up an' hoss thief
That loved stage roads an' hosses too well,
Who asked the stranglers [vigilantes] to hurry
Or he'd be late to breakfast in Hell.