Once the Plains people had become accustomed to owning horses, says Howard Terpning, a special class of medicine men emerged: those with unusual skill in healing the ailments of horses. Some remedies involved the use of various herbs and others would seem to us today like magic tricks, with no sound medical reasoning and yet they often worked wonders. The Nez Perce were among the best horse breeders, so it would follow that they produced excellent horse doctors.,
This scene at Rendezvous shows a group of Nez Perce and a white trader observing the initial meeting between a horse doctor and his patient. At some point in the healing process, the horse doctor will open his medicine bag and bring out the magical items and herbs that will, with luck, cure the animal.
This painting enabled me to show a large group of people, surrounded by the clutter and confusion of the annual rendezvous.