Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly [GPQ 8 (Fall 1988): 195-205] . Copyright 1988 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


T he family farm has prevailed as a bastion of petty capitalism in the Great Plains. Although capital and labor are highly differentiated in the larger society, they are combined in the family production unit in Great Plains agriculture. In addition to being the economic base for much of the Great Plains from the settlement period onward, the family farm provided a cultural base from which a series of values emerged. Women were important in reproducing this culture that tended to stress agrarian values and the primacy of the family as building blocks for a community based on the values of equality, hard work, optimism, and self-improvement. But family farm culture manifests itself differently depending on each member's location within the family: there is a dominant male culture and a female culture of resistance.