In an effort to capture Billy the Kid and any of his gang members, Lincoln County sheriff, Pat Garrett raised a posse for a "winter" campaign (Dec. 1880) out on the"Llano Estacado". This area stretches from eastern New Mexico into western Texas. Although the name means "staked plains," it also means "palisade" and that fits the description better as the llano is elevated above the surrounding ground and thus looks like a kind of enormous fort with steep walls or "palisades.” It was likely a miserable as well as terrifying time for the lawmen. The wind and the winter on the llano are brutal. The expedition killed two of Billy's pals and, in the end, captured Billy.
“Very few artists focus on a miserable landscape; they usually like pretty trees and babbling brooks. Not me. It is the winter landscape that makes this so much fun to paint. The snow blowing and the wind roaring…it gives me the excuse to paint those billowing coats and dusters. It is heroic art as being maybe heroic, but actually dreadful and dangerous. And these men did this sort of thing wearing cowboy boots and jeans and long coats with scarves.”