The Mr. & Mrs. Robert E. McKee III Family Fred Darge Collection

Bucking Bronc

Oil on canvas board, 12″ x 16″, ca. late 1930s

It has been said that the life of a cowboy was satisfying even with the hard work that was required. For the experienced and skilled ranch hand, most tasks were relatively safe and even mundane at times except for breaking the wild horses. Taming an animal determined to run free and wild was a job for experienced and specialized trainers. Broncs tossed, twisted and turned and successfully unseated and stomped the rider.

Darge painted a variety of these scenes. He was known for his ability to capture the action of breaking horses. The wild broncs of Darge’s art illustrate his ability to convey the horse’s fear—wide eyes, taught muscles, hooves in rapid motion—and the rider’s unwavering intention to tame the animal.

Gifted by David A. H. Harris and Marjorie McKee Harris

Mankato Style Spur Strap Buckles on Custom Straps by Baru Forrel