Check out books from Wild Idea's founder and Carbon Cowboy, Mr. Dan O'Brien
For twenty years Dan O’Brien struggled to make ends meet on his cattle ranch in South Dakota. But when a neighbor invited him to lend a hand at the annual buffalo roundup, O’Brien was inspired to convert his own ranch, the Broken Heart, to buffalo. Starting with thirteen calves, “short-necked, golden balls of wool,” O’Brien embarks on a personal journey that returns buffalo to his land for the first time in more than a century and a half.
Buffalo for the Broken Heart is at once a tender account of the buffaloes’ first seasons on the ranch and an engaging lesson in wildlife ecology. Whether he’s describing the grazing pattern of the buffalo, the thrill of watching a falcon hone in on its prey, or the comical spectacle of a buffalo bull wallowing in the mud, O’Brien combines a novelist’s eye for detail with a naturalist’s understanding to create an enriching, entertaining narrative.
Wild Idea Buffalo Company is excited to announce Dan O'Brien's new book, Wild Idea, Buffalo & Family in a Difficult Land. Dan's new book is currently available and each copy is signed by the author himself.
Wild Idea is a book about how good food choices can influence federal policies and the integrity of our food system, and about the dignity and strength of a legendary American animal. It is also a book about people: the daughter coming to womanhood in a hard landscape, the friend and ranch hand who suffers great tragedy, the venture capitalist who sees hope and opportunity in a struggling buffalo business, and the husband and wife behind the ranch who struggle daily, wondering if what they are doing will ever be enough to make a difference. At its center, Wild Idea is about a family and the people and animals that surround them - all trying to build a healthy life in a big, beautiful, and sometimes dangerous land.
Great Plains BISON traces the history and the ecology of this American symbol from the origins of the great herds that once dominated the prairie to their near extinction in the late nineteenth century and the subsequent efforts to restore the bison population. Dan draws on both extensive research and decades of his own personal experience. He details not only the natural history of the bison but also its prominent symbolism in Native American culture and its rise as an icon of the Great Plains. Great Plains BISON is a tribute to the bison's essential place at the heart of the North American prairie and its ability to inspire advocates in the fight to preserve American biodiversity. A must-read!
The Great Plains were once among the greatest grasslands on the planet. But as the United States and Canada grew westward, the Plains were plowed up, fenced in, overgrazed, and otherwise degraded. Today, this fragmented landscape is the most endangered and least protected ecosystem in North America. But all is not lost on the prairie. Through lyrical photographs, essays, historical images, and maps, this beautifully illustrated book gets beneath the surface of the Plains, revealing the lingering wild that still survives and whose diverse natural communities, native creatures, migratory traditions, and natural systems together create one vast and extraordinary whole.
The Great Plains are covered in detail, evoked in the unforgettable and often haunting images taken by Michael Forsberg. Complementing Forsberg’s images and firsthand accounts are essays by Great Plains scholar David Wishart and acclaimed writer Dan O’Brien. Each section of the book begins with a thorough overview by Wishart, while O’Brien—a wildlife biologist and rancher as well as a writer—uses his powerful literary voice to put the Great Plains into a human context, connecting their natural history with man’s uses and abuses.
The Great Plains are a dynamic but often forgotten landscape—overlooked, undervalued, misunderstood, and in desperate need of conservation. This book helps lead the way forward, informing and inspiring readers to recognize the wild spirit and splendor of this irreplaceable part of the planet.
McDermot, Nebraska, is a pleasant, scenic western cattle town situated in the Pawnee River valley—just the place for people seeking refuge from their hectic city lives. It is also just the place for those who have made their homes on this haunting prairie since the late nineteenth century. Ideal for both, McDermot means everything to those native inhabitants and something very different to those who are looking for a new life.
As the native residents wrestle with the arrival of outsiders, a local journalist uncovers a medical scandal epitomizing the problems facing the divided community. After the death of two men, it falls to the ancient but powerful district attorney to mediate a resolution between the clashing interests of the new and the old West. And the Thurston family, descended from the town’s first citizen, sets out in its own way to fight the forces threatening to destroy it. This is the story of new and old interests colliding, of small western plains towns confronting the forces of “progress.”
Winner of the Western Heritage Award, this beautifully crafted historical novel from one of the West’s most popular writers tells the true story of the friendship between Valentine McGillycuddy, a young doctor plucked from his prestigious medical career and newly married wife to serve in the army during the Great Sioux War, and the fearsome chief Crazy Horse.
Set in the sprawling Great Plains during the most tragic period in its history, this tale of bravery, justice, and love weaves a tapestry of time and events into the account of a single day—the last in the life of Crazy Horse—to reveal the secrets surrounding America’s past.
Dan O’Brien’s earlier award-winning novel The Contract Surgeon introduced readers to Valentine McGillycuddy, a friend of the great war chief Crazy Horse. Through McGillycuddy’s eyes, the novel recounts the friendship that so deeply impacted history. It also chronicles the great Sioux Wars, one of the most violent periods in this nation’s history.
The Indian Agent is the riveting sequel to The Contract Surgeon. After Crazy Horse’s death, McGillycuddy went on to become the youngest agent in history for the Red Cloud Agency, renamed the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, of the Oglala Lakota band of the Sioux. Although Red Cloud and McGillycuddy have diametrically opposing views, they have more in common than either suspects. They both love the land, and they both love the past. The politics and the enormous tensions of the early days on the reservation come to life here in fascinating detail,
Full of the dynamic history of the plains, The Indian Agent is the true story of the conversion of this land from one of free nomadic people to one of settled commerce—achieved, however, at an unfathomable cost.
Ranching is not an easy occupation, and the land has exacted a heavy toll on four neighbors trying to eke out a living on a harsh South Dakota bench overlooking the Bad Lands. Each has made the sacrifices necessary to achieve the sense of place that becomes O'Brien's central theme. When a mining company targets the area for exploration and excavation, and the local bank quietly begins trying to acquire the land, the full passion of the ranchers is unleashed. O'Brien has created an eloquent novel of the modern American cowboy, analyzing his staunch commitment to the land, his unfailing loyalty to family and friends, his dedication to work, his great congeniality, and his fierce defense when any or all are threatened. A stellar performance. Watch out, Larry McMurtry. Stiff competition lurks just over the northern rise. - Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. at Carbondale Lib.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Dan O'Brien spent the summer of 1986 in the Rocky Mountains releasing young peregrine falcons on the mountain cliffs. When one of his release sites was raided by a golden eagle, he managed to save a peregrine chick, and decided to make an improbable two-thousand-mile trip with the surviving young falcon, Dolly. From the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico, following the autumnal migration of waterfowl, O'Brien taught her to hunt as a wild falcon would, in the hopes of releasing her into the natural world. The Rites of Autumn is the riveting account of their incredible journey.
One subzero morning, as Dan O’Brien approaches his fiftieth year, the autumnal equinox of his life, he takes stock. Feeling a waning sense of purpose, he decides to devote himself entirely, for the first time in his life, to his greatest loves—falconry, his bird dogs, and the prairie he calls home.
That summer he obtains a remarkable falcon chick who immediately distinguishes herself by her ferocity. He names the bird Harley and trains her in the ways of falconry. Harley’s powers of flight are awe-inspiring, her hunting success astounding, and like a lover, she captivates him. O’Brien hunts with her obsessively, reveling in her prowess and beauty. What he learns from her and from what happens one wind-driven day lead him to see fully things he had only just begun to glimpse.