Buffalo Hunt Painting

See more “Peek Behind the Curtain” posts in Andi’s Attic >>

The Justin Quiz launched yesterday, so in honor of Justin, I’m sharing a fun Peek Behind the Curtain. Near the end of Price of Truth, Justin tells Andi about a birthday gift Chad has picked out for their mother’s upcoming birthday. He asks if she would like to have her name included on the card. This prompts Andi into leaping from the buggy and running back to Goodwins Mercantile to recover the music box she left there the Friday before. Not finding it, she returns to the buggy disheartened but feeling “stuck” about the birthday gift her older brothers have bought, as usual.

When Andi finds out Chad has bought their mother an oil painting of an Indian “buffalo hunt,” she can’t hardly believe it. How could her mother possibly be happy with a painting of Indians chasing buffalo around the prairie? Good question.

So, where did I come up with such a silly idea as this? Not on my own, I confess. Sometimes I see something on TV that tickles my funny bone and I think to myself, “Store that idea away to tweak and use sometime in a book.” That is what I did. You can see the one-minute scene (which actually has no relevance to the show’s story plot of a forest fire) by scrolling down. I have no idea why it’s even there except to provide some humor.

After you watch the scene, feel free to go to Price of Truth and learn how I took a general, funny idea and turned it into my own scene. You have to be careful with this kind of thing when you are writing. First of all, I used a different oil painting! I added my main character (and Rosa) to the scene, left out the other brothers, and tweaked the dialogue to fit my own story. But you will also see the similarities. This post was created in answer to the question, “How do you come up with your ideas, Mrs. M?”

Before watching the scene, however, here’s a little Blast from the Past about the real artist that Justin mentions in the story.


There really was a western painter named George Catlin, and he really did paint a “Buffalo Hunt” in the 1800s. Chad insistence that the artist’s paintings would be worth a lot of money some day turned out to be true. Mr. Catlin was born in 1796 and died in 1872, and he was a famous (well-known) painter. Chad probably paid plenty for the one painting, but he didn’t pay what it is worth today. Below are two of George Catlin’s “buffalo hunt” paintings. Depending on which of the many, many Old West paintings he created, one of these could fetch a price tag today of up to a million dollars. So, Chad was so right!

Buffalo Hunt (Catlin)
Buffalo Hunt (Catlin)

Peek Behind the Curtain

So, the original idea came from an episode called “Explosion.” I changed the artist’s name from the TV scene, and a good thing too. When I looked up Charles Russell, who was mentioned as the artist, I discovered that the TV show got it wrong historically! The Big Valley TV western is set in the 1870s, but Charles Russell did not paint his pictures until the late 1800s and into the early 1900s. Oops. Who was the fact checker on the TV set before letting this episode go into production?

For myself, I found an historically accurate western painter, George Catlin, for my story. I also researched and found one of his paintings that would have been available in 1881, “The Buffalo Hunt.”

Anyway, here is the original scene, a 1.5-minute clip. It’s funny. After watching it, if you are interested, find the scene in Price of Truth. Can you tell what I changed? What I left the same?

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

21 thoughts on “Buffalo Hunt Painting

  1. Oh my goodness! I love Big Valley! Back when I first started reading the Andi Carter books I was hooked on it so saw a lot of the similarities 😂 I saw “Explosion” and knew exactly what episode and what scene it was before you even said it was from Big Valley. Lol

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    1. How funny! I love that show! Do you know the episode “The Stallion”? That is the first time I ever heard a tomboy girl named “Andrea” be called “Andi” (back in the late 1980s). I thought. “Wow! That’s it! That’s the name of my character.” (Even though the young teen girl in “The Stallion” is blond and not related to the family at all.) But it was the spark that set my character-naming in motion. LOL

      My friend and I and all of our kids (we homeschooled) used to have Big Valley marathon, watching episodes together. I recorded them on VHS (if you have any clue what that is. Like a giant cassette tape.) My fave episode is “Last Train to the Fair.” What’s yours?

      I think “Explosion” started out okay, but then it got pretty unrealistic with the whole nitro thing. Two-part episodes are not always a good plan.
      I also think “The Battle for Mineral Springs” is hilarious. “Ferns are Our Friends.” “Birds of North America.” It was SO funny the way Jarrod and Victoria got stuck in jail for not paying the outlandish hotel costs. *laughing*

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  2. Mrs. M, that’s so cool you’ve gotten so much inspiration for your books from Big Valley! I didn’t really care for the whole nitro thing either in “Explosion”. My favorite episode is probably “A Flock of Trouble” 😂 I have watched that one countless times!
    I do know what a VHS is. Lol When I was little I used to watch all my movies in them. I still have a VHS of the movie “Spirit, Stallion of the Cimmaron” on VHS and still use it! Lol

    Anonymous, like Mrs. M mentioned, they are on INSP and I used to record them. I started watching them on YouTube instead though. It is a bit blurry because of them being uploaded so long ago but I watched it anyways. Beats skipping through commercials on cable.

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