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

  • Heart River Corral

    This remarkable photograph I’m looking at, I’m not sure what to make of it. It dates from 1961, and at center is the fine new historical marker installed by the State Historical Society of North Dakota at the Heart River Corral, southeast of Richardton.   Standing at left of the marker is a lad identified […]

  • Headquarters for / Lee Overalls / Union Made / Earl W. Niles

      Stark on the broad, mostly abandoned main street of Englevale, North Dakota, stands a buff-brick business building with a big glass-block window in front. And on the exposed east wall of the unused building, this ghost sign, hearkening back to the days before the store became a bar, when it dispensed all manner of […]

  • Cold War in a Cold Land

    In 1963 North Dakota State University Extension published a handy set of plans for building your own fallout shelter at home, in case of nuclear war. You might conclude that the people of the northern plains were intensely fearful of atomic Armageddon, but evidently not. These were among the least-utilized plans ever issued by the […]

  • Like Father, Like Son

    Nobody pointed out the easy button to Julius Sgutt when he arrived in North Dakota from Romania, within the Russian Empire, in 1896. He came by way of New York City and Minneapolis and Perham, where he married Annie Evedovitz, recently come from Russia. They would have two children, Emanuel and Miriem.   In 1896 […]

  • Brands, Earmarks, and Waddles

    There is a cachet to livestock brands. When you see them blazed into boards hung in your local bar and grill, you feel you are situated in a storied place. You see a brand book in the courthouse, and you want to pull it down and pore over it. Brands are symbols of identity that […]

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