Tufts moved to Niobrara in the Nebraska Territory in 1859, where he became a probate judge and served in the territorial legislature. Tufts moved to the Dakota Territory in 1861, and served as secretary for the legislative council of the Dakota Territory. He was appointed US Commissioner to adjust military claims in the Dakota Territory in 1862.
Tufts ran for the Montana territorial delegate to the United States House of Representatives and lost the election. He moved back to Niobrara, Nebraska, to farm and practice law.
Tufts died in Niobrara. He is buried in L'Eau Qui Court Cemetery.
- "Territorial Offices Established". Idaho Genealogy Trails. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
- "Governor of Montana". Soylent Communications. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
- Malone, Michael P. (1991). Montana: A History of Two Centuries. University of Washington Press.
- "Catalogue of Officers and Students of Middlebury College in Middlebury Vermont," 1901, p. 146