APPROACHING BENTS OLD FORT

APPROACHING BENTS OLD FORT

20" x 30" oil on canvas

Bent's Old Fort was established in 1828 along the Arkansas River in present day Colorado. The four Bent brothers and partner Ceran St. Vain chose the site for its proximity to the Santa Fe Trail and its location as a trading post accessible to trappers and large numbers of indian tribes in the area. Since many tribes were hostile towards each other as well as the white man, the fort's policy was to never have more than one tribe at a time at the post and never inside it unless under strict supervision. This painting is of a trio of Cheyenne and their pack of horses, laden with pelts and hides having council on the southern bank of the Arkansas. They are making sure no other tribe is at the fort already and determining which trade goods they want to receive in exchange for their furs. Bent's Old Fort was blown up in 1852 after a cholera epidemic by the surviving brother George Bent who established a new fort 30 miles down river. The Old Fort has been reconstructed and is now a National Historic Site. © Steven Lang OPAM