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

  • Wire that Fenced the West

    Too good a bargain to pass up, was my thought when I spotted a copy of The Wire that Fenced the West priced at five dollars in a used bookstore. I bought the book, a minor classic by Henry D. and Frances McCallum (University of Oklahoma Press, 1965).   McCallum was a petroleum geologist for […]

  • Open Range

    Now and then, driving across the plains, I spot a devil’s lane. Every one of them has a story involving particular people and particular circumstances. Every one, too, is a manifestation of something we have in common all over the prairies, from Alberta to North Dakota to Kansas to Texas.   What the heck is […]

  • Counting Coup

    We call him Kippy the Keystone Bear. He’s a big thing. He stands back on the alley west of Highway 3 in Dawson, North Dakota. I can’t see how I’ve missed him before, because like I said, he’s a big thing—meaning a roadside monstrosity intended to attract custom. He stands about fourteen feet tall. He’s […]

  • Prairie Oracle

    It was the Greek historian and biographer Plutarch who said, “As for me, I live in a small town, where I am willing to continue, lest it grow smaller.” I know a lot of people who feel the same way, people who love their prairie towns and stick with them, good times and bad.   […]

  • Southern Exposure

    Accidents of geography can be unfair. Towns and sites that happen to lie near the borders of states can suffer (or enjoy, depending on your outlook) a certain inattention on the part of more central places. So, following a meeting in Napoleon the other day, and en route to another one in Ellendale, we made […]

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