Witness Post: Outlaw (1906)
The cast bronze statue, “The Outlaw,” is one of Frederic Remington’s later pieces. First cast in 1906, it was known as the real companion to “The Broncho Buster,” which was cast in 1895. “The Outlaw” is the teeter to The Broncho Buster’s totter: what comes up in one goes down in the other. Giant jolts of endless energy were what this cowboy was feeling as the horse would rear up putting full force on all fours.
The Outlaw’s rider seems to bestow a great amount of fluidity and control. However, this cowboy commits a competitive horse taming mistake. In a competition he would lose points by resting his hand on the side of his horse. Yet, on a safer side, he stands a chance of not getting his coccyx dislocated, if he were ousted from the saddle. This cowboy was a first class bronco-buster or “flash rider,” as they were sometimes called. These riders would receive high wages in their day; wages that were well deserved, because this was one of the most dangerous jobs there were. Even today, no cowboy could ever hope to grow old as a tamer of wild horses.
The idea for this casting was taken from that of an old sketch that Remington had done years before called the “Sun Fisher.” In this sketch the rigorous life of a flash rider was shown. This cowboy was trying to beat the odds to stay on the broncho until it “broke” and calmed down.
Our family owns a version of The Outlaw, with some additional signage on the base. There is an added dedication plaque on the base of the statue which reads “Dedicated to Secretary of State, John Hay, 1906.” This particular bronze is heavier (47 pounds) and taller (23 3/4″) than many of Remington’s other cast renditions. John Hay, as I came to find out, was Secretary of State in the Theodore Roosevelt administration. First appointed in the Wm. McKinley cabinet, (1898), Hay remained in office past Pres. McKinley’s assassination. Hay continued under Roosevelt and stayed as SOS until he died in 1905. The Remington statue was dedicated to Hay for his contiguous years of service in both administrations.
I am not exactly sure how the statue came into our family collection. The first time I recall seeing it was in my dad’s wife’s apartment in Bethesda, Maryland. I was particularly fond of it and select it, when we had a family “pick” of items that we wanted when my dad and his wife moved to smaller quarters in Florida.