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Time’s Shadow

Laton Huffman

Laton A. Huffman: After the Buffalo Chase, 1879; photogravure; 10 x 8 in.; gift of Jan Leonard and Jerrold A. Peil.

“Kind fate had it that I should be post photographer with the army during the Indian campaigns close following the annihilation of Custer’s command. This Yellowstone–Big Horn country was then unpenned of wire and unspoiled by railway, dam, or ditch. Eastman had not yet made the Kodak, but thanks be, there was the old wet plate, and collodion bottle and bath. I made photographs. With crude, homemade camera, from saddle and in log shack, I saved something. Yes, it was worthwhile, despite the attendant and ungodly smells of the old process. Round about us the army of buffalo hunters—red men and white—were waging the final war of extermination upon the last great herds of American Bison seen upon this continent. Then came the army of railroad builders. That—the railway—was the fatal coming. One looked about and said, ‘This is the last West.’ It was not so. There was no more West after that. It was a dream and a forgetting, a chapter forever closed.”—Laton A. Huffman

Huffman’s After the Buffalo Chase is on view in Time’s Shadow in the Theater Gallery, where admission is free.