Plains Folk

Plains Folk, a commentary devoted to life on the great plains of North America, is now a special weekly feature on Main Street. Written by Tom Isern of West Fargo, North Dakota, and read in newspapers across the region for years, Plains Folk venerates fall suppers and barn dances and reminds us that “more important to our thoughts than lines on a map are the essential characteristics of the region–the things that tell what the plains are, not just where they are.” You can hear Plains Folk once a week during Main Street, weekdays at 3 pm CT with a repeat at 7 pm CT.

To read more Plains Folk commentaries, click on the “archives” link.

Recent Shows

  • Big Dogs and Deep Pockets

    A year ago I had a group of my research students going deep into the records of the Cass County District Court, records conveniently lodged in North Dakota State University Archives. They investigated every case where a citizen brought suit against one of the region’s great railroad corporations, the Northern Pacific or the Great Northern. […]

  • The Story of William Small

    When William Small, in July of 1921, hopped a Great Northern freight train in Davenport and rode it into Casselton, he was just one of tens of thousands of transient laborers arriving to work the spring wheat harvest in North Dakota. Railroad detectives let them ride when their labor was needed, then prodded them out […]

  • The Death of Albert T. Vandervaal

    The Great War was over, but early in 1919, sad news continued to arrive home from the front. On 16 January the Sioux County News published a letter from a local man, Corporal George Halsey. Halsey wrote from Belgium, explaining that he had not had time to writer earlier, but was inspired to do so […]

  • Honoring Treaties

    In the twenty-first century it can be difficult to navigate the history we have inherited from the nineteenth. Periodically since 1927, for instance, the community of Medicine Lodge, Kansas, has organized the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty Pageant. It commemorates the Indian peace treaty of 1867.   There is a lot of other hoopla around the […]

  • Peace Treaties

    Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reading about treaties, particularly Indian treaties on the Great Plains. There are dozens of them, of course, but certain ones are landmarks. On the southern plains, the Treaty of Medicine Lodge, 1867—subject of close examination in a fine new book by Colin Calloway entitled Pen and Ink Witchcraft: […]

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