At Fort Keogh and in Miles City, which grew adjacent to the fort, Huffman did his work. He photographed the Indian warriors, the soldiers, the buffalo hunters, the bull-whackers, the colorful people of old Milestown and then the cattlemen. He photographed the ranches, the roundups, the cowboys in greater extent and detail than was ever done. With crude home-built cameras he made his early photographs on glass plates. From horseback or well chosen point of view he preserved the frontier heritage with great patience and skill.
But the photography business had its' ups and downs as did his investment in real estate. From time to time Huffman was forced to pursue his profession or other work in other localities. The hardships and years of hard work through most of his career seemed never to bring the financial reward he had hoped for himself and his family. But as the years passed his collection of photographs of frontier days drew more interest until the last six or eight years of his life sales of his pictures provided a modestly comfortable income.
Huffman's genius was not only in his artistry before there was the automatic camera or fast film or exposure meter. His great love for the spirit of the Old West and his sense of history drove him with seemingly small reward to record those chapters which were soon to close.
In later years L.A. Huffman said of his own work, "Fate had it I should be Post Photographer with the Army during the Indian Campaigns, following annihilation of Custer's command. Round-about us in this Yellowstone, Big Horn land, unpenned of wire, unspoiled by railway, dam or ditch, un-kodaked, hunters, Red and white, exterminated for robes and tongues, the last great herds of Buffalo on this continent. With a crude homemade Camera, from saddle and in log shack, I saved something—built better than I knew. From the cabin collection of the late Seventies, the Huffman Pictures now number thousands. Those of the Indian and Leather Lodges, Buffalo ranging the Big Open, and early-day Cattle Round-ups are now historic."
Coffrin's Old West Gallery
© Coffrin's Old West Gallery