A Blackfeet party studies a far-off message . . . . According To Terpning, Plains Indians often used smoke signals to communicate across great distances. The smoke was not normally used in the complex manner of Morse code but usually had a specific meaning agreed upon beforehand between senders and receivers. The signal here could convey any number of things: sighting of buffalo, for example, discovery of an enemy or simply provide a rallying point for scattered parties. Howard has painted few winter scenes, including “Chief Joseph Rides to Surrender” and “Winter Coat,” but those he’s done have Sold Out at Publisher and we suspect that’s because collectors share his conviction not to romanticize the world of the Plains Indians. Their land, he reminds us, was not always lush, green and filled with plenty.