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

  • Silent Leather

    Alongside Highway 281, in the shadow of a feed mill, a plank sign declares: Herb Mignery Country: Cowboy Artist. An arrow points toward downtown (using the term loosely) Bartlett, Nebraska, population about 120, seat of Wheeler County.   Where we discover, wonder of wonders, a sculpture garden. On the courthouse grounds. Really good bronze sculpture, [...]

  • Bashtan

    In 1838 the great German travel writer of the 19th Century, Johann Georg Kohl, explored the German colonies near the Black Sea, in the Russian Empire. Here he was welcomed by the Black Sea Germans, the ancestors and relatives of the Germans who subsequently would emigrate to Dakota Territory.   Of the Germans in Russia [...]

  • 1889

    1890 is the year commonly cited as when the American frontier came to a close. It was in 1890 that the census bureau, in its report, observed that white settlement had penetrated pretty much every district of the West, so that “there can hardly be said to be a frontier line.”   The historian Frederick [...]

  • Homestead on Lake Baumgartner

    According to Reverend Max Speckmeier, “It was in the fall of the year 1888 when delegates from Strassburg, South Russia, came into Emmons County, where the town of Strasburg now stands, to look for suitable land for arriving homesteaders. . . . several so-called German-Russians arrived in the spring of 1889 to take up homesteads. [...]

  • Hiking the Grasslands

    We were attacked from above and from below. Every time the trail led from the open grassland into a grove of burr oaks, mosquitoes flurried about us. Meanwhile, wood ticks were working their way up our pantlegs and colonizing the beagle. These things go with the territory. Otherwise, our hike through the Sheyenne National Grassland [...]

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