As a follow-up to the previous post exploring the American bison and the Western, is sharing that the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens will broadcast Facing the Storm: Story of the American Bison this Thursday, April 26th (at 10 pm).

Filmmaker Doug-Hawes Davis explores the history of the largest land mammal in North America and its relationship with human beings in this 2011 documentary. There were an estimated 25 to 30 million bison – or buffalo – at the time of European contact in the 1500s and the Indigenous peoples of the Great Plains have maintained a sacred relationship with the bison. This film describes how commercial harvesting of the animal and a US government-sanctioned extermination of the mammal in the 1800s – to eliminate the food source for Plains tribes and pressure those peoples onto reservations – led to just a few thousand bison at the beginning of the 20th century.

This film also examines the place of the American bison today as it faces continued pressure from cattle ranching and expanding urban centers. Sport hunting also takes a toll – the film notes that more bison are killed for sport now than at any other time since the 19th century. Despite these challenges, the film relates how many conservationists believe that the bison can – and should – be restored to the Great Plains in wild herds as part of a sustainable North America. Here is the trailer for Facing the Storm: Story of the American Bison:

More info about the film can be found at this link: film.html

Independent Lens airs Thursday nights – typically at 10pm – check your local listings.

Here is a link to the general PBS schedule : tv-schedule

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)


  1. I wish I had known about this before the semester ended on my Expansion of the US class. I’ll know about it next time.

  2. Thanks for the comment and for visiting my blog. I like the shot of Monument Valley on your own site. 🙂

    Take care,

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