Plains Folk

The Archives

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

  • Government of Cattle

    Two years ago a couple of students at North Dakota State University decided to find the oldest book in the library. The work that surfaced was The Government of Cattell, a treatise in animal husbandry by one Leonard Mascal, published in London in 1627.   Not much is known about the author. A terse catalog [...]

  • Strength from the Soil

    It was not a matter of clinical depression, but I will say that the closure last year of the NDSU Archives, including the collections of the Institute for Regional Studies, left a gap in my life. The closure was to allow for a complete relocation of the archives to a facility long known as the [...]

  • American Highway

    Stew Magnuson, a mild-mannered editor from Virginia, is pulled to the prairies by two lines. The first is a line of descent, as he takes pride in his ancestral roots in western Nebraska. The second is a red line on a roadmap, the one designated Highway 83. Magnuson is a self-described “highway buff.”   His [...]

  • Gettysburg of North Dakota

    This year we mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, the Gettysburg of the Plains. I have been using that phrase, “Gettysburg of the Plains,” mainly as an attention-getter, but if pressed, I will stand by it. As with the Battle of Gettysburg, in the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, the fates of [...]

  • A Dry Hole in North Dakota

    Given the virtually perfect success rate for wells drilled in the Bakken today, it is easy to forget the number of dry holes punched in the northern prairie over the past century. The biggest one, says the petroleum industry’s first academic chronicler in North Dakota, is historical. Clarence A. Herz entitles the initial chapter of [...]



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