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Late historian and Wild West contributor Lee Silva pointed out that unlike cavalrymen in tailored and pressed uniforms in John Ford Westerns, this trooper in a “rumpled, nondescript uniform more closely resembles what a soldier chasing Apaches in the field looked like in Arizona Territory in the 1870s and 1880s.” 

Note the trooper’s tell-tale saber and spurs. Photographer Henry Buehman settled in Tucson in 1874, opened his own studio a year later and spent decades capturing Arizona people and places. 

This young man’s identity and post are unknown, but Silva noted that the foliage in the painted back-drop “is similar to the foliage that appears in the earliest photos of Camp Huachuca,” in the southeastern part of the territory. Silva published the image in Tombstone Before the Earps—Vol. II, Part 1 of his uncompleted “Wyatt Earp: A Biography of the Legend.”

Lee A. Silva Memorial Collection ()

This story initially appeared in the June 2017 print edition of Wild West.

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