Descending 1,885 miles straight down the center of the United States from Westhope, North Dakota, to Brownsville, Texas, is U.S. 83, one of the oldest and longest of the federal highways that hasn't been replaced by an Interstate. Award-winning author Stew Magnuson takes readers on a trip down the road and through the history of the Northern Great Plains. The famous and the forgotten are found in stories he discovers in the Dakotas. Explorers Pierre de la Verendrye, Lewis & Clark, Jedediah Smith, are all encountered along with Chief Spotted Tail of the Brule Lakotas, TV sensation Lawrence Welk and rodeo superstar Casey Tibbs. The murderers, settlers, ballplayers and rail barons from yesteryear meet today's truckers, oil rig workers and ghost towns inhabitants as Magnuson launches his own Voyage of Discovery in a beat-up 1999 Mazda Protege. Published on the 125th anniversary of the year North Dakota and South Dakota became states, The Last American Highway: A Journey Through Time Down U.S. Route 83: The Dakotas, is a love poem to the natural beauty of the prairie and the fascinating people-both past and present-found along the road.
Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Stew Magnuson is the author of The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder-2009 Nebraska nonfiction book of the year-and Wounded Knee 1973: Still Bleeding. The Last American Highway: A Journey Through Time Down U.S. Route 83: The Dakotas is part one of his Highway 83 Chronicles.