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

  • Good Dogs

    Angie the History Dog has discovered her alter ego: Water Dog. The drought has broken, the bar ditches are running brisk and cold, and our puppy cannot get enough of that ditch water. Labrador retrievers, I have observed before, are sensuous animals. Cool water, tummy rubs, stinky carcasses, sloppy mud, singing frogs, sweet grass—for them […]

  • The Gauntlet

    Tonight I travel to Ellendale for a meeting about how to restore, preserve, and make use of a grand historic building, the Ellendale Opera House. I’d like to share with you some remarks prepared for the meeting, because they apply throughout the northern plains. The first thing to remember as we contemplate the challenge and […]

  • Being German-Russian

    I’m not being original when I say everybody does history, whether we admit it or not. Carl Becker, a century ago, said this better than I can.   We have to do history, for two reasons: for judgment, as the basis for making decisions, and for identity, as the basis for thinking about who we […]

  • The Dog Fence

    Some things are a matter of the right thing in the right time and the right place.   Over twenty years of traveling in New Zealand, I never saw a kiwi bird in the wild. Then, during a visit to the Bay of Islands, we were standing on Flagstaff Hill. This was the spot where […]

  • State Fish

    Making our way home from Pierre, we diverted to an undisclosed location in the Missouri Coteau and unlimbered a baitcasting rod armed with a Daredevil spoon. Classic tackle for the classic piscatorial quarry of the northern plains: northern pike.   We are at a remarkable point in regional environmental history, for a generous hydrological cycle […]

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