This “cowboy on horseback lighting a cigarette” image (or as @dduane calls them, “Marlboro Men”) is one Johnson revisited several times:
But only this last one gives a reasonable impression of it being at night.
The others seem far too
bright and colourful for something mostly illuminated by a full (?)
Okay, I’ve never seen a wild-and-woolly-Western prairie moon, so I may be talking through my ten-gallon hat, but moonlight I’ve experienced in European countryside (fairly low city-light pollution) is far more bluish and monochrome, and produces really deep, dark shadows.
That said, a painting - or movie, come to that - which is so dark that the viewer can’t make out any details may be accurate, but won’t be attractive. There’s a TV Trope (of course) called “Hollywood Darkness” which examines it in more detail, but the Terry Pratchett quote “It has to be light enough to see the darkness” sums it up nicely.
An exceptionally warm, bright night-time palette does seem to be a Johnson trademark: according to Wikipedia it was even known as the “Johnson Moonlight Technique”.
Other artists went further in their representation of darkness. Here’s a John Atkinson Grimshaw painting of the River Thames by night…
…one by Albert Bierstadt of a Wild Western (the Oregon Trail) landscape…
…and one by A. I. Kuindzhi of the River Dniepr.
This, finally, is getting towards the too-dark end of things, but
still captures what full moonlight and full shadow really look like.
They aren’t elements of spooky stories for nothing…
Living in the city, you forget a lot of things. You know, there you’re always thinking about being mugged or hit by a car. It’s not until you get back to nature that you realize that everything is out to get you. That’s why my father always taught me to respect nature… ‘cause it has no respect for you.