When the buffalo and other large game animals became scarce on the plains, Plains Indian warrior-artists transferred their drawing skills from animal hides to paper. Plains men found new artistic freedom by using sketchbooks or ledger books for their drawings. They continued to depict their battle exploits, but also started to incorporate domestic scenes.
In this drawing, Big Cloud illustrates a battle exploit where a warrior counts coup on the enemy. Following the footprints, the warrior dismounts and goes into the house where he touches the enemy, or counts coup; the highest form of honor in Plains warfare. The warrior first counts coup on the two men, shown by the horse quirt on top of their heads, he then counts coup on the woman with his bow.
Big Cloud has taken full advantage of drawing on paper using colored pencils by providing important details such as landscape, his personal adornments, and particular elements of his enemy's clothing.