Great Falls, Montana: W. T. Ridgley, 1899. Hardcover. Oblong Quarto (11 x 14"). 12 descriptive, 12 plates of prints. Original brown pebbled leather with gilt stamped Indian head on right, a buffalo head on left of vertical gilt line; gilt lettering on cover. Housed in a plain cardboard portfolio.
Twelve heavy card stock plates with pen sketches by Russell, each preceded by an untrimmed, printed leaf with title, a poetic quotation, and brief description of the plate; no title page, as issued. Plates with Russell's signature and date of 1898 in plate, except the plates "The Shell Game" and "The Initiation of the Tenderfoot" without dates. The final plate "The Last of his Race" is dated 1899. All plates contain "Copyrighted by W. T. Ridgley" in right corner of plate. According to Yost-Renner this should be the third edition with the original plate "Initiated" replaced by the plate "Blazing the Trail." Variations however in binding, brown leather instead of black, and the leaf preceding the first descriptive leaf with publisher's imprint is not present.
Russell created this set of pen sketches with his typical motifs at the age of 34, two years after his marriage to his Nancy Cooper Russell, and one year after they had moved from the small community of Cascade, Montana, to Great Falls, the county seat Cascade County. His wife is generally given credit for making Russell an internationally known artist.
Covers of binding and flyleaf separated from block but present. Covers with wear along edges and rubbed. One and two inch closed tears at middle of top edge, chips at foredge corners and a two by one half inch chip in middle of foredge of front cover. Back cover with on inch triangular chip at lower left corner, else with wear along edges and rubbed. W. E. Ward inked to middle of front flyleaf. Plates somewhat age-toned with minor wear along edges. Seven of the printed leaves with poetic quotations (plates 3-9) "framed" by watermarks above printed text not affecting the plates with sketches. Binding in overall poor, interior in good+ condition. poor to good+. Item #41139
C. M. Russell (1864–1926) was known as 'the cowboy artist,' his story telling and as an author. He created more than 2,000 paintings of cowboys, Indians, and landscapes of the Western United States as well as bronze sculptures. His famous mural "Lewis and Clark Meeting the Flathead Indians" hangs in the state capitol building in Helena, Montana. In a 2005 auction Russell's painting "Piegans" sold for $5.6 million.