When Branding Was More Than a Nike Swoosh


(photo of horse in chute with cowboys doing their branding work

With three cowboys on the “mane” end and one at the tail end, this horse felt the “hot” end of the branding iron. L.A. Huffman didn’t put a date or a location on this photo, but it was probably taken near Miles City in the late 1800s.

There is a 40,000-page collection of historical livestock brands encompassing the beginning of brand registrations in Montana in 1873 and including new brand assignments, transfers, and re-registrations through 1980.  The records were compiled by the Brands Enforcement Division of the Montana Department of Livestock.  Brands were registered for a ten-year time period and had to be re-registered – starting in 1911 – at the start of each decade (1921,1931, etc.). 

Montana Historical Society Photo Archives #981-924

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