L.A. Huffman



In The Branding Pen Miles City Flood

L.A. Huffman (1854-1931) 

Having learned the craft of photography from his father, Laton Alton Huffman became the post photographer at Fort Keogh near Miles City, Montana, in 1879. With the Custer incident in 1876, this was a rapidly changing time in Montana's history. Tensions between early settlers and Native Americans were high. The demise of the great buffalo herds was near, clearing the way for large scale cattle ranching. The railroad arrived in Miles City in 1881, bringing about huge change to the area. The arrival of farmers with their plows and fences would permanently alter the landscape of eastern Montana. During all of this, Huffman was there taking photographs - landscapes, animals, early ranches, street scenes, and people doing their work. He photographed the beginning, heyday, and the end of the open range days.

He carried his cameras on horseback, and this mobility distinguished him from studio photographers, enabling him to capture authentic action photographs.

Huffman approached his work with the eye of an artist and the perspective of an historian. He left an unmatched visual record of early Montana.