Images of card-playing and gambling traditionally relate to the consequences of sin, and Remington’s black-and-white oil takes this idea to its extreme consequence. Gun smoke and bodies indicate the man left standing at the table has taken retribution for being cheated at cards. Director John Ford’s biographer claims this painting hung in a recreation of a western saloon in the home of silent movie star Mary Pickford, later Lady Ashley.
In Lonesome Dove, several scenes occur of men playing cards, however, in one case, card playing between Gus and Lorena becomes a metaphor for the negotiation of their relationship. After Gus rescues Lorena from Blue Duck’s gang who have beaten and abused her, Gus uses her enjoyment of card playing to gently draw her back from her depression.