by Larry Miller
We've just completed reading a short (111 pages) fascinating book by Dan O'Brien entitled Great Plain Bison. It concisely chronicles how the influx of European-American settlers in the Old West presaged the slaughter of the American bison.
It's estimated that 40 million to 60 million bison roamed the Great Plains at the end of the 17th century, but by 1900, there were fewer than 1,000.
Today, that number has grown close to 500,000, thanks to folks like O'Brien and his wife, Jill.
Dan O'Brien is a wildlife biologist. He and Jill operate the Cheyenne River Ranch – a 3,200-acre bison ranch – along the west edge of the South Dakota Badlands. They raise only free-range, grass-fed bison.
O'Brien's book was published two years ago by the University of Nebraska Press. NET, Nebraska's first-class public television network, produced the following short video about the return of the American bison: