Date of this Version
Great Plains Research Vol. 21, No. 2, 2011
Twenty years ago, Stange and her husband traded a modest New Jersey house for seven square miles of overgrazed prairie and set out to right the wrongs done to a place that had been mismanaged ecologically as well as environmentally. The restoration begins disastrously with llamas before it proceeds to success with bison. Her narration includes her own experiences, but most of her essays are serious, in-depth studies of the broader topics that constitute life in the great grasslands spreading across the interior of the country. She begins with prehistory, analyzing the evolution of both plants and animals in the region, before moving on to the often brutal human history. She covers every imaginable subject, from the Buffalo Commons to carnivores and the problems of being a "locavore" in the sagebrush Plains. She looks at the history of the Cheyenne Natives of the region and the current interest in coalbed methane. She contemplates cows, emotional distance, gender stereotypes, mirages, hunting, privacy, weather, and the Montana Dream. Her observations and opinions are solidly buttressed with research, and she lists her primary sources.