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

  • The Chaska Monument

    Far as I know, this is one of only two monuments to Indians erected in North Dakota by whites. The other is the monument to the Indian defenders at Whitestone Hill, which is an interesting story.   My subject today, however, is another monument, with another interesting story, at another forgotten state historic site: the […]

  • Return to Heart River

    It’s pretty clear how they came in, once you get on the ground. Standing in the flat cupped into the north side of Heart River, you look east and see the spur offering a gentle descent from the ridge east and south of the river. Thence west along the south bank to where a draw […]

  • Western

    One of the great misquotations in American usage is the sentence, “Smile when you say that.” It used to be a common wisecrack among boys, but I have no idea what is common speech among kids these days.   The correct quotation is, “When you call me that, smile.” It occurs during a poker game […]

  • 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 […]

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