Shooting for the Beef
In Shooting for the Beef, a group of men and dogs is assembled in front of a rough, wooden “Post-Office-Grocery” for a shooting contest—a typical western pastime. The prize is the steer at the far left. Their target is a nail on the board leaning against the dead tree at the right, below a sign that reads “To Boonsborough 14 miles.” This town, named for the renowned pioneer Daniel Boone, was in central Missouri’s Boone County. The lively narrative of rough but amiable frontier types and the far-ranging view of the frontier landscape combine to make the painting a vivid representation of the era of Manifest Destiny, when Americans believed in divine approval of the progressive domestication of America and in limitless opportunity for those possessed of the pioneering, competitive spirit.
- Artist: George Caleb Bingham, American, 1811-1879
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dates: 1850
- Dimensions: 33 3/8 x 49 in. (84.8 x 124.5 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: Signed lower left: "G.C. Bingham / 1850."
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in American Identities: A New Look, Everyday Life/A Nation Divided, 5th Floor
- Accession Number: 40.342
- Credit Line: Dick S. Ramsay Fund
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: George Caleb Bingham (American, 1811-1879). Shooting for the Beef, 1850. Oil on canvas, 33 3/8 x 49 in. (84.8 x 124.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 40.342
- Record Completeness: Best (91%)