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. Beginning January 2018, Plains Folk is posted via this link. Prior to that date, you’ll find archives on this page.

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

  • Give Us Our Try!

    One of the joys of my job is that I get to call fabulous experiences “work.” The most popular course I teach is the history of Australia and New Zealand, a region where I maintain active research interests. This compels me to fly over frequently to maintain my chops in the field. So, we arrived […]

  • The Beaches of Manitoba

    The ancient beaches of Lake Agassiz are subtle features in the landscape, generally unnoticed except by persons specifically looking for them. I recognize some of the beaches when I cross them, but am too geologically ignorant to discern most of them. I do claim to know something about books, however. So I am embarrassed to […]

  • Shell Shocked, Gassed, and Side Sprained

    William E. Riley, of Geneseo, North Dakota, served as an infantryman in France during the Great War. There, according to a local historian, he was “shell shocked, gassed, and side sprained.” “Shell shock” was the term a century ago for what we now call PTSD. “Gassed” means Private Riley was caught in an attack of […]

  • Badgers

    We’ve been cussing badgers around our house this fall–ever since that day, out hunting sharptails with Little Angie the History Dog, I stepped into a badger hole, hyperextended my knee, and did a little number on my MCL. The only good thing about the whole episode is this nifty cane I can shake at whippersnappers, […]

  • The Bakken

    Since commencement of the Bakken Boom, we people of the northern plains have been bombarded with images of the oil patch. These portrayals range from the pollyanna-esque (everything about to the petroleum boom is wonderful, and if you don’t think so, you are unpatriotic) to the critically alarmist (everything about the petroleum boom is terrible, […]

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