grasslands: north america's hidden wilderness

This film is a journey through one of the planet’s least known, most beautiful and most endangered ecosystems – the Northern Great Plains of the United States.

programme information


1 x 60'

Production Company

A co-production of Terra Mater Factual Studios and River Road Films.





Episode Information

When most people think of the North American prairies, they think of endless straight roads stretching across the land. They imagine symmetrical lines of corn, canola and wheat all the way to the horizon. But just beyond the croplands lies an unknown wilderness. Before Europeans settled, the Great Plains thundered with the sound of enormous herds of bison and antelope on the move – this place was truly the “Serengeti of the North American continent”. Now the dust has all but settled and the grasslands are in danger. Still these prairies inspire awe, there are other sights and sounds, and even hope. Every year, a cacophony of bugle-like calls fills the sky as half a million sandhill cranes converge on the Platte River in Nebraska. They’re heading north along their annual migration route in one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles. On the ground, in summer, a family of swift foxes eke out a living amongst the sage brush while Pronghorn antelope learn to navigate the crop fields. The dust of the prairies is being thrown up once more, as 2,000 pound bull bison lock horns in a battle for the right to breed. The grizzly bears – driven off the land in the 1800s – have returned. Time is slowly turning back on The Great Plains of America.

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