C.S. Fly had to drive a wagon full of glass plates from Tombstone to Canyon de Los Embudos (Canyon of the Funnels), some 90 miles east, over some very rough country. Even when I visited the site of Geronimo's surrender in 1993 it was rough going in a four-wheel drive vehicle. That he made it there and back without breaking any of his glass plates is an achievement even above and beyond the actual amazing and historic photographs he took. Earlier, another ambitious photographer, accompanied Crook into the Sierra Madres on a different campaign and took a bunch of photographs of Geronimo and his warriors, but on the way back, the mule carrying his glass plates went over a cliff and they were all destroyed. It is heartbreaking to imagine what images were lost in that tragic mishap. They would no doubt rival, or perhaps even surpass what Fly did closer to home, but we will never know.
I have been studying and taking a new look at Fly's incredible photographs because three of the four principal characters in our upcoming feature on the hunt for the Apache Kid were at the Embudos surrender site. That would include the Apache Kid, Al Sieber and Tom Horn. The fourth character we are featuring—Mickey Free—was essentially banished from this trip because Geronimo blamed Mickey for "misinterpreting" what the G-Man said and thus blamed all the problems of the Apaches on Mickey Free. Here is one of the most intriguing of Fly's photos taken on March 26, 1886.