Cover Art Description:
Rick Allen's "A Rashomon Night" looks at the question of Sheriff Henry Plummer's guilt through the lens of famed Japanese filmmaker's Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, a film that depicts the conflicting ways witnesses recall an event. Similarly, the slumped victim and drawn pistols in Newell Convers Wyeth's Gunfight (c. 1916, oil on canvas, 33-1/2" x 25", William Sr. and Dorothy Harmsen Collection, courtesy of the Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado) raise questions about who is shooting whom and why. Despite the powerful and enduring mythology of the quick draw at twenty paces, too many western gunfights, then and now, involve liquor, careless shooting, and uncertainty over the events that led to violence.
In a similar vein, Shannon Smith Calitri's article traces the convoluted history of Lieutenant William J. Fetterman's legendary defeat and the subsequent turmoil over responsibility for the disaster. J. K. Ralston's The Fetterman Fight (1963, oil on canvas, 37" x 44", courtesy Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail Association, Banner, Wyoming) captures the climactic moments of the battle. Like the attempts of Colonel Henry B. Carrington to clear his name, the painting suggests many possible interpretations of what happened on the far side of Lodge Trail Ridge.
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