Plains Folk

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

  • Mr. Strutz’s Durham Calves

    We’re in the middle of the centennial of the Great War—which is what people called World War I at the time, because if you called it World War I, that would be pretty pessimistic, right? The story of the Great War in our part of the country is ambivalent. North Dakota was a hotbed of […]

  • Another Fine Mess

    Here’s another fine mess I’ve gotten us into, I thought, as I shut down my old F150 and gazed west across the broken landscape toward Sentinel Butte. I had attempted to drive my research collaborator, a more steady and sensible fellow than I, onto the top of Square Butte. We had driven around and reconnoitered […]

  • Native Winnebago Drawing

    This was not a case of a treasure hiding-in-plain-sight. It was more a case of even-a-blind-hog-finds-an-acorn-once-in-a-while.   Honestly, I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this marvelous pictograph in the online catalog of the Smithsonian Institution. I must have been lost—like this document was for so many years, because it was mis-identified on intake, sometime […]

  • Men such as These

    We live in an era when male role models are muddled. At the same time popular culture sets aside old ideals of masculinity, we fret about the confusion this creates for boys. Boys seem to be falling behind in school and having trouble moving confidently into life as men.   If we go looking for […]

  • Lives of Complexity

    Lifted gently from the cabinets of the Smithsonian Museum Support Center, and placed into my hands, is a heavy artifact that on first contact bespeaks little gentleness. It is a heavy maul, its head a cantaloupe-sized piece of red quartzite. It might be used to drive a stake, or to smash a skull. Either or […]

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