Badlands | Prairie Public Broadcasting


Erosion is constant in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where the colorful but crumbly Badlands are on full display. A scenic loop rings the park’s South Unit at Medora, taking visitors through prairie dog towns, river bottomland and layered bluffs. The park was established in 1947 as Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park, but the 21-mile loop wasn’t completed until 1968, when the final seven miles of road were laid. Visitors previously had to retrace the road from Wind Canyon and Buck Hill.

The Badlands Babies

Aug 12, 2020


President Theodore Roosevelt’s time in what is now North Dakota is known for the hunting and ranching that helped soothe his soul and form his outlook on conservation. There are many famous episodes: his persistent pursuit of his first bison, chasing boat thieves down the Little Missouri River, and giving his Fourth of July speech in Dickinson.

Roosevelt Arrives

Mar 18, 2020


Adding up all his hunting and ranching visits, Theodore Roosevelt spent about a year in Dakota Territory. He visited Medora in 1883 to hunt bison, then returned to try ranching. He had two ranches: Chimney Butte south of Medora, and the Elkhorn, deep in the Badlands north of town.

Theodore Roosevelt’s initial trip to Western Dakota Territory’s badlands was a rollicking adventure of hunting, frustration, and awe for the young New Yorker in his early twenties. In mere days TR was entranced by the beauty and the desolation of gnarled, stunted cedars, miles of plateaus, running rivers, scoria, sandstone and clay.

Small Town DeSart

Oct 25, 2018

Slope County, North Dakota has just two towns, but this sparse part of the prairie once had more. DeSart was one of them. Ora and Anna DeSart homesteaded in the area southeast of Amidon in 1905. They had nine children. Two died as babies. The DeSarts had come from Iowa, from a Civil War family. Ora DeSart had tried to join the Union Army at age 12, but was rejected. He had nine brothers and half-brothers who served in the war.

Medora Bridge

Jul 25, 2018

When you hear the word “Medora,” you cannot help but think about the “Old West” of cattle-ranchers, cow-punchers and wild bronco-busters. Picturesque ‘Medora’ overflows with such frontier connections to Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch and the Little Missouri Badlands.

Marquis de Mores

Jun 14, 2018

The Marquis de Mores already had one heck of a personal story before he broke a bottle of wine on a tent stake and christened the town of Medora in the Dakota badlands. He was a French aristocrat born into a noble military family with Spanish lineage dating back to the conquest of Sardinia in the thirteenth century. His family also had vague connections to French royalty.