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July 14, 2017


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A Visit To The Cheyenne River Buffalo Ranch

Some people say we live in the middle of nowhere. We say, like nowhere on earth.

Wild Idea Cheyenne River RanchFrom mid May to September, we give tours to interested customers who want to see for themselves where their food comes from. We also host groups interested in the science of environmental sustainability.

Cheyenne River Ranch tourThe tours are any where from one person to fifty. Tours include an overview of the ranch, conversation on our regenerative ranching practices and conservation, and a Q&A time.

Dan O'Brien writer rancher

Wild Idea Buffalo HerdBut everyone agrees that the best part is a ride through the buffalo herd - in one of our classy ranch vehicles or on a hay wagon.

Martha Nelson South Dakota
Extras can be added, such as lunch or a charcuterie sampler served up with a little more conversation.

Cheyenne River Ranch Tours

CharcuterieThere is always preparation that transpires before guests arrive and depending on the size of the group determines the help needed. The whole family chips in; from cleaning vehicles, a little lawn mowing, to cleaning the toilets. The snake toilet seat is an attraction in itself, although many prefer not to actually use it!Patrick McMillanWhen the science enthusiasts arrive they are often accompanied by our good friend and Environment Studies Professor, Patrick McMillan from Clemson University. Or, when the French come we call our good friend and former ranch caretaker Gervase Hittle, and when lunch is requested we tap into our staff at Wild Idea or visiting interns (whose pay is lousy but they eat well). Thank you Francis and Ben!

Sometimes the stars align and the buffalo and nature really put on a show, with double rainbows and leaping baby buffalo.

Baby BuffaloOther times it is more subtle and you may catch almost the whole herd taking a rest.

Buffalo Herd RestingRegardless, it is for many a once in a lifetime experience to get so close that you can hear them chew. There is a peacefulness and serenity to be in such a setting. It puts the world and our place in it in balance.

Wild Idea Buffalo & RainbowsWe always want to offer complete transparency in our ranching operation, as well as our meat production. So if find yourself out in the middle of the Great Plains and you are interested in a ranch tour reach out to daughter Jilian for more information. She can be reached at:

Our sincere thanks to all of you for your interest and support in environmental and food sustainability.


Bruce Gree

July 15, 2017


Happened to notice on the Wild Idea calendar that you are referred to as the “Carbon Cowboy”.

Wanted you to know that I am the “Carbon COPY Cowboy” as characterized in a song I wrote 30 or so years ago. If I ever get it recorded, I will send you a CD.

Rick knobe

July 15, 2017

Always enjoy news from you!!! Am happy you are willing to educate the masses about the mighty buffalo. Rick Knobe former buffalo rancher and KSOO radio guy. Current Captain of the trawler, Taitan Princess in Titusville, Florida

Douglas Lassey

July 15, 2017

Dear Wild Idea, I have wanted to see the ranch and particularly the Buffalo herd.Thank you for giving us, my wife and I, an opportunity. I will call to check if it’s a go.Doug Lassey

Todd and Sherry Erlandson

July 15, 2017

We had a fantastic visit and tour of Wild Idea in July. Dan and Jill were gracious and open, we traveled all over the ranch, observed the haying process and got up close and personal with the herd…even shared a wonderful lunch at the ranch house. I highly recommend this experience…nothing like it! Thanks Dan, Jill, Colton and Jillian!


July 15, 2017

The pictures remind me of my childhood at the gate to the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma. Bless you and all of theTatanka.

Martha McKee

July 15, 2017

Ever since reading your wonderful books, I have been hoping to get up to the ranch. We will be making our way there next summer from our home in Tucson. Meanwhile we continue to enjoy the products we order and your efforts to provide sustainable red meat to a red meat loving nation!

Linda Huhn

July 15, 2017

Hey Dan,

Stayed at Cheyenne River Ranch twice in 2004, first time with my husband Richard (we’re the photographers) and then again later. Gervais took us on an unforgettable ride thru the herd and later took me on an unforgettable horseback ride. Richard passed away in 2011 but I’m still a photographer and still enjoying your mailings and books. How can I get in on a tour and what is the cost? It would be worth the trip from Minneapolis.

two dog

July 15, 2017

My spirit cries out to be on the prairie with tatanka (He who owns us) all around and open space seemingly forever. I will make it there and to Pine Ridge also where my great grandmother roams in the clouds.


July 15, 2017

You had me at “snake toilet seat”! :) One day, I will make it there. . . .

Brullmann Laurent

July 15, 2017

Great job with your ranch, this is a fantastic idea and I am pleased with what you have done. Always happy to see the news from your website. I wish to come soon to the Cheyenne River Buffalo Ranch and pay you a visit. Wish you all the best and hope this great adventure you started will go on.


Wendy and Roy Erlandson

July 15, 2017

Beautiful photos ! We are very impressed
With your place in South Dakota and our granddaughter Frances is loving her time working with you all!

Ann Rudorf

July 15, 2017

We had such a memorable time! Love the pic in the Zebrurban!
I bought all of the charcuterie on our way to the airport and am recreating your pairings for a party in Pacifica tomorrow. I’ll be making Buffalo Pepperoni Pizza as well!

Grant Price

July 17, 2017

We were there some years ago. It is a beautiful place, well worth visiting. Seeing and understanding where food comes from is a good thing. Not that hard to find, we managed it in the pre-gps era. Might I add that Dan and Jill like good wine?

Jill / Wild Idea Buffalo Co.

July 17, 2017

Grant Price – The “hand carried” on an airplane (when that was still allowed) to insure the temperature was controlled, french bottle of wine lingers still on my palate! And – I’m still sorry I burned the ribs!

Jane Baile

July 27, 2017

This message comes a little late, but you’ve been in my mind since our June 19th visit at your ranch. What a pleasure seeing these photos. I also want to say that though you have received many people at your ranch over the years, we really felt a sincere, warm welcome, as if we were already friends and not just customers. I think that is very important. My group will always remember this special day during our extraordinary trip to Wyoming and South Dakota. I must confess that I’m already dreaming a putting together another group for next year. Would you be up for another group of French people in 2018? Who knows? Enjoy your summer and my best to all of you.

jill / Wild Idea Buffalo Co.

July 27, 2017

Jane – We would love to have you and guests back! Great group! Found memories.

Warren Burdett

September 16, 2017

Fantastic looking operation and thanks for sharing.

Damon White

September 20, 2017

“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness;”
Your photos bring “Endymion” to mind so powerfully I smile and cry at the same time.

Bardet Alexandre, Switzerland

September 07, 2018

Hey! After Brendan Prairie, Autumns Rites and The Bisons of Broken Heart, Im’ reading Wild Idea. And I came in the area of Cheyenne River 20 ears ago. What a great idea to have built a big ranch in accord with the wilderness! What a pleasure to read Dan O’Brien. Thanks for the Nature of the Great Prairies and have much success.

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