Meet Dan O’Brien

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Dan O’Brien is an owner of the Cheyenne River Ranch just west of the Badlands National Park and North of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He lives & shares his life on the ranch with his wife Jill, and their old friend Erney Hersman.

Dan has been a wildlife biologist and rancher for more than thirty years. He is also one of the most celebrated falconers in America today and was a prime mover in the restoration of peregrine falcons in the Rocky Mountains in the 1970s and 80s.

Dan is one of the most powerful literary voices on the Plains. Described by the New York Times “as a writer with a keen and poetic eye…”  His novels are, The Spirit of the Hills, In the Center of the Nation, Brendan Prairie, The Contract Surgeon

Dan at book signing

and The Indian Agent and newly released in September 2010, Stolen Horses. Dan’s memoirs on falconry include, The Rites of Autumn and Equinox, which are intimate and revealing explorations of his life-long search for wildness on the Plains. Dan’s other non-fiction book, Buffalo for the Broken Heart, explores the history of his ranch and the conversion from beef to buffalo. Buffalo for the Broken Heart was chosen as One Book South Dakota in 2009. Dan is currently working on a sequel to Buffalo for the Broken Heart.

Dan is a two-time winner of the National Endowment for the Arts individual artist’s grant, a two time winner of the Western Heritage Award and a 2001 recipient of the Bush Creative Arts Fellowship.

Dan & Ed Iron Cloud with Sustainable Harvest Truck

In addition to writing, Dan divides his time between, working on the ranch, teaching ecology and writing, running Sustainable Harvest Alliance and serves on the Black Hills branch of TNC.

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