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

  • Memory Work in the Sandhills

    One of my favorite intersections on the Great Plains is situated some 250 miles north up Highway 281 from my farm home in central Kansas and some 400 miles south down Highway 281 from my current home in North Dakota. It’s the intersection of that venerable north-south route, 281, and Nebraska Highway 20, the main […]

  • Jotunheim in the Sandhills

    About thirty years ago, under the guidance of my old friend Don Green, then living in Chadron, Nebraska, I drove out to the homestead of Old Jules Sandoz. Old Jules was the father of the great Nebraska author, Mari Sandoz. I met Mari’s sister, Flora, at the homestead, and her other sister, Caroline, at the […]

  • The Prairie Garden

    Late in the nineteenth century a Danish botanist named Niels Ebbesen Hansen reported for duty at the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, Brookings. Hansen became best known for his plant exploring expeditions, particularly to Russia, from which place he brought back such notable plants, now well known on the northern plains, as crested wheat grass […]

  • Reflections from Section 21

    A couple of days ago I wrote, “I no longer am riding in the Wentz Wagon. I am driving the wagon.”   A reference, of course, to the already-legendary quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, Carson Wentz, who hails from Bismarck, North Dakota.   When not driving the Wentz Wagon, I’m cheering on the North Dakota […]

  • 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 […]

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