Skip to main content

Watch - Cowboys of the Open Range

Access educational resources for home and classroom use.

- Activity Ideas, Quiz, and Related South Dakota History Resources

Dakota PathwaysCowboys of the Open Range

Take an exciting journey through more than a thousand years of South Dakota history with this Emmy Award-winning twenty-episode series. From our state’s ancient beginnings through contemporary times, Dakota Pathways: A History brings the stories of South Dakota’s people and places to life.

Cowboys of the Open Range During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as South Dakota grew, first as a Territory and then as a State, there was a major attraction drawing people to the region, other than gold. The vast open prairies of western South Dakota were ideal for raising cattle.

Ranchers moving Texas Longhorn Cattle

In the early days, it was the open range, unfenced and vast, that attracted a unique breed of men, cowboys. Even after the fencing of the plains with the invention of barbed wire, the cowboy life was to continue. This episode looks at the life of the early cowboys on the open range and shows how it helped to make us the state we are today.

Related Resources

For more information about SDPB's educational resources 
and services contact Steven Rokusek at or at (605) 222-3422 (E&O Staff)