During their historic journey to the Pacific, Lewis and Clark reported enormous herds of North American Bison in the midwest, so large that they “darkened the whole plains.” Wagon trains sometimes waited days for passage through herds numbering in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. But by the early 1900’s the bison were reaching their low-point. Over-hunting, drought, and encroachment on their natural habitat by humans and cattle drove the population of bison down to only several hundred animals (the actual number is disputed) — the bison were almost extinct. …
We visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park in August of 2013 and photographed much of the scenery and the North American Bison that roam the park. This is just an additional batch of photos that we didn’t include in the original post. …
Frontier Village is a tourist attraction just off Interstate 94 in Jamestown and includes a number of attractions including the “World’s Largest Buffalo” (a concrete bison statue named Dakota Thunder,) Frontier Village (a re-creation of a pioneer town featuring actual historic buildings which have been moved to the site from all over the state,) and the National Buffalo Museum.
The photo doesn’t quite do justice to the scale of Dakota Thunder… a tall person can stand beneath the two front legs of this statue with a couple feet to spare. It’s big, and really a thrill to see in person.
The store on the right is a working souvenir and snack shop with an ATM.
Do you have our hardcover coffee table book Churches of the High Plains?
There is no admission charge to get into Frontier Village or to see Dakota Thunder, and a small fee to the National Buffalo Museum, totally worth the price for the opportunity to see North American Bison in a family-friendly environment. You can even get a ride in a real stagecoach. Next time you’re driving by on Interstate 94, stop in for a visit!
Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC