Beauty & Buffalo In The Great Plains

Over the past month at the ranch and over the Great Plains prairie's that we have traveled, we have all stated, "Oh my God - it's so beautiful!". I thought I would share some photos with you of the changing landscape over the last three weeks, and transport you to the prairie grasslands. 

Prairie GrasslandsAbove photo of the ranch bottom grounds, taken on October 1st.

It's been my observation over time, that drought years produce a fall spectacle. Fall also has some of the most spectacular sunrises that you just can't make up.

Sunrise over prairie

Although many throughout the country head to the mountains (including the Black Hills) to see the changing of colors, I would argue that the prairie grasslands with their Cottonwood-laced trees along streams and riverbeds are equally as spectacular.

The Cheyenne River

Over each passing day the ocher colors deepen and cure with the cool fall rains coating the blades of grass with a shinny lacquer.  

Buffalo Herd on Prairie

The buffalo graze over the amber grasslands sparsely littered with Cottonwood trees that grow in the low spots, where there's enough water to support them. 

Prairie Hillsides

The prairie hillsides with draws (which Dan calls the "female parts of the prairie") are filled with color and are stunning against the deep blue sky. 


Birds and waterfowl gather in groups before taking off to their winter homes. 

Magpie & Bison

Magpies flutter from buffalo back to buffalo back, catching an easy meal of insects. Magpie on Baby Buffalo

This pesky Magpie finally chose a late summer calf to pick on - I should have videoed it - as it was quite comical.

White Tail Deer

Whitetail Deer bed down in shrubs, trying to stay out of sight of the potential archery hunter. 

Bison Cow CloseUp

The warm late afternoon light sets on a buffalo cow's face illuminating her softness and fabulous eyelashes!

Rapid Creek with Snow

Winter appeared 40 miles west of us and into Wyoming on October 12th, delivering a heavy wet snow, which allowed the rich fall colors to show off even more. The ranch received three inches of welcomed rain. 

Buffalo Couple

The tail end of the rut has this lovely couple on a date in the bottom ground. I hear the food is fabulous and the view isn't bad either. ; )

Bighorn Sheep

A small herd of Bighorn Sheep, Ewes and their calves, graze on the prairie at sunset. 

Bison Running

Last Friday, we moved the buffalo onto the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. These two ran to catch up before taking the plunge.

Lead Buffalo Cow Crosses river

 The lead buffalo cow is always the first one in...

Bison River Crossing

more dive in quickly...

Buffalo Crossing Cheyenne River

before the herd comes piling in. They head up the river banks and onto the flats. They will roam and graze on the Buffalo Gap Grasslands until April. FYI: I took video of this too, which I hope to share with you soon.

Cheyenne River Buffalo Ranch
October 25th

Monday, I was greeted to this ridiculously gorgeous daybreak. I pulled some light into the image as it was a bit dark, but to my naked eye this is what it looked like.

These Great Plains prairie grasslands have so much to offer, but remain under threat... Our choices greatly impact their future.   

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  • superbes photos, merci beaucoup

  • Thanks for the uplifting and beautiful photo essay. I have it saved to my speed dial to use as a morning meditation.

    Wayne Fischer
  • You’re right about people thinking of fall color in the highlands, but the prairie has it’s own subtle and unique beauty. The draws and creek bottoms offer shots of color, but the grasses and shrubs of the prairie are beautiful in themselves. I have a color photo of a roundup at Custer State Park, and until you look closely, you think it’s a sepia-tone. But on close examination, the little flowers and shrubs begin to pop. Thank you for your great eye for photos, and for sharing.

    George Frantz
  • Thank you for sharing the beauty, interest and fun of life on the Great Plains. I learn something every time I read your posts. Take care.

  • A long time back I recommended a “coffee table” book for your wonderful pictures. Guess that tells my age :))
    this is so much better, thank you, thank you.

    Janis Fitschen
  • I so enjoy your pictures, videos and commentary of your beautiful ranch. Your homeland is special.

  • So beautiful, Jill. Thanks for the reminder to stop and breathe.

    Deborah Gangloff
  • Great work to capture the art of nature. Beautiful display of a part of America. A great show of what we don’t want to lose.

    Gary K. Krieger
  • It is so depressing being stuck in such an over crowded, over priced region of Northern California known as the Silicon Valley! Count your blessings that you live in Gods country! What I wouldn’t do to live near your land. Thank you for sharing that beautiful part of the world and providing a great product!

  • Beautiful work and words, I really enjoyed it.

    Jack Tipton
  • These current pictures and commentary are so much appreciated. It makes us feel we are a part of seasonal events taking place at The Cheyenne River Ranch and your every day activities. The skies at sunset/sunrise, the prairie preparing for extreme change in temperature, preparing the grasses to hibernate during the coming season and subsequently to be restored to a new life in the spring.
    The sights of the buffalo making their annual “pilgrimage” to the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands as the waterfowl gather to make their journey are nature’s wonderful way of telling us again it is time for major change from which we will again emerge as spring brings back light and life and abundance of good things. We appreciate your sharing this time of change on the prairie with us as nature also reminds us it has so much beauty on display if we take the time to appreciate it.

    Jerry and Norma Reynolds
  • Spectacular!

    Angela Trzepkowski
  • The photos and written word are perfect. Ditto to all the accolades in all the comments.
    Photo On and Write On,

    Peter Fuller
  • Thank you for sharing this — a much welcomed respite

    Joyce Cross
  • Jill, thank you for sharing your beautiful photos with us and allowing me to day dream for a moment.

    Robert Powell

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