End of the Trail Legend

James Earle Fraser was born in Minnesota in 1876. In 1880, family moved to South Dakota near Mitchell. He grew up with the Sioux Indians.

Fraser’s idea for his famous The End of the Trail sculpture, came about because of the many interactions Fraser had with the Indians during his childhood days. He felt the Indians had been treated unfairly be the white man and consequently developed a great deal of compassion for them. He remembered well how bitterly the pioneers spoke of the Indians and he could not understand why such animosity developed.

The End of the Trail sculpture was completed in 1894 when Fraser was eighteen years old and won him the John Wanamaker Prize at the Paris (France) American Artists Association in 1898.

several years later, in 1915, Fraser enlarged The End of the Trail to heroic proportions for the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. This plaster version, mounted on a high pedestal, was placed in front of the Palace of Jewels, a central location within the Exposition grounds. It was seen by tens of thousands of people at the Exposition and was reproduced on a photo postcard, a popular souvenir that helped make The End of the Trail on of the most familiar sculptures of the American West.

The “San Francisco” version was subsequently put in storage, moved to a Visalia, California park, and finally in 1968, to the Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City. A bronze cast was made from the original plaster and was installed in Mooney Park Grove, Visalia, Californiain 1971.

Another heroic, lifetime bronze casting of The End of the Trail was commissioned by Clarence Shaler of Waupan, Wisconsin. Fraser was very pleased to have a full scale bronze of this famous scul pture completed and installed in a public place.

James Earle Fraser is known primarily for two famous works: the sculpture The End of the Trail, and the model for the Indian Head Buffalo nickel, a coin which was issued in 1913 and which remained in circulation for many years.

The Ten Indian Commandments

Treat the earth and all that dwell thereon with respect.

Remain close to the Great Spirit.

Show great respect for your fellow beings.

Work together for the benefit of all mankind.

Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.

Do what you know to be right.

Look after the well being of mind and body.

Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.

Be truthful and honest at all times.

Take full responsibility for your actions.