The scene is at Ft. McKenzie on the Missouri River, the subject is Iron Shirt, a Blackfoot Chief that was given this British uniform by the Hudson Bay Company in order to impress him to make good deals with their company with his furs. Many of these Chiefs had different colors, combinations and types of Revolutionary war surplus uniforms of which they were very proud. This is the British Officer’s coat that Iron Shirt gave to Mr. Mitchell.
This incident took place in August 1833 when Maximillian of Germany and the famous Swiss artist Karl Bodmer visited the Fort McKenzie site and became friends with Chief Iron Shirt. My wife Judy and I are good friends with the owner of the land where the fort was located, but of course the fort is no longer there. We traveled to the Ft. McKenzie site in August in order to capture the lighting and atmosphere for this painting.