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Underdog, A Prairie Story


Underdog, A Prairie Story

One-off / one hour
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  • Producer

    Peter Hayden
  • Director

    Hiroshi Egawa
  • Executive Producer

    Ellen Windemuth, Masaru Ikeo
  • Production Company

  • Produced For

    BR, ORF, Animal Planet
  • Duration

    50 minutes
  • Definition

  • Location

  • Delivery

  • YOP

This evocative film goes right to America’s heart – to the great rolling prairie that once stretched like a green ocean through the Midwest to the eastern Rocky Mountains.

This is a story of redemption and is told through the mighty bison and the pint sized prairie dog. They shape this unique landscape and would be lost without it … one is the great pioneer and the other is the tireless farmer. As Bison roam, they create conditions for their settler brothers to set up their underground towns. The energetic burrowing of prairie dogs enriches the grasslands and allows many other animals and plants to follow.

This story reaches back to reveal what was the vast and spectacular beauty and richness of America’s largest ecosystem – imagine herds of buffalo so large it would take them four days to pass through an area, and flocks of snow geese so vast, they darkened the sky.

This is also a journey into America’s present. Most native grassland has gone, destroyed under the ploughs of settlers. But in some places, farming the prairie is unsustainable. It is too dry for grains to grow, so, farms are closing and towns are abandoned. What remains is the land and remarkably, the wildlife … wolves, buffalo, pronghorn antelope, deer, eagles, prairie dogs are reappearing as if by magic.

Shot in high definition by cameraman Jim Brandenburg and NHK, Japan, this is an intimate yet powerful evocation of this remarkable landscape and offers hope for the return of more prairie grassland. Up to 20 million acres of old farmland could be transformed into a new wildlife paradise. Some dare to dream of returning the prairie to its former glory – of an ‘African Serengeti’ in the heartland of America - which is the aim of the Jim Brandenburg Trust. (