Albert Bierstadt studied art in Germany alongside noted American landscape and animal painters Worthington Whittredge and William Holbrook Beard. The three later became neighbors in the famous Tenth Street Studio Building in New York.
It is likely that Bierstadt encouraged his friends Whittredge and Beard to travel west following his own western adventures in 1859 and 1863. Beard accompanied travel writer Bayard Taylor to Colorado in 1866. Whittredge was also in Colorado at this time, painting along the Front Range of the Rockies in the company of Gen. John Pope. Unlike Bierstadt, neither Whittredge nor Beard seemed much interested in portraying Native cultures.