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

  • Trouble Right Here

    Two decades ago America’s foremost environmental historian, Bill Cronon, published a landmark essay entitled, “The Trouble with Wilderness: Or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature.” His work inspired but also offended a lot of people, because he called into question the fixation of nature-lovers on this thing called “wilderness.”   While wilderness advocates worried about [...]

  • On Deep Creek

    It becomes more plain as we bump along, riding the yellow school bus northwest out of Bowman toward Black Butte and into the valley of Deep Creek. I had been wondering how Dean Pearson, who after all has two responsible jobs with the county, became so preoccupied with an episode in local history. He had [...]

  • 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 [...]



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