While he is better known as a painter, Russell was as skillful with wax and clay as he was with paint, often using wax models as studies for a painting. He
had a lifelong interest in depicting the buffalo hunt, which seemed to be a perfect representation of the romantic West. While he had painted the subject
of the buffalo hunt many times, this was his first attempt to depict the action in three dimensions. Similar to his contemporary Frederic Remington,
Russell tried to defy the forces of gravity by elevating the figures off the base as much as possible. A tuft of grass supports one of the horse's front
legs, while the injured buffalo is braced by the other animal against which it has fallen. Critics praised the accuracy of Russell's observation and
animated naturalism of his subjects in both paint and bronze, but many contemporaries considered him more gifted as a sculptor. While his bronzes lack the
refined unity seen in works by his academically trained colleagues, they have a vitality all their own. Russell told an interviewer in 1911 that a choice
between painting and modeling would be hard to make, but that perhaps modeling would be his choice if he were forced to decide between the two.