It’s “a land where trains leave their rails to sail through the air, men are born of frozen beasts, and locusts feast on human flesh,” expounds the opening of the video trailer forDakota, Or What’s a Heaven For (North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies, 2010).

Written by Brenda K. Marshall, an LSA English Department lecturer, the story is set in the Red River Valley in the Dakota Territory during the late-19th century. It’s a time when bonanza farmers from the East picked up large parcels of land and local homesteaders acquired much smaller plots, creating inevitable tension between the two groups.

Working with a small publisher necessitated that Marshall do much of the publicity forDakota on her own. She has done so with the help of a grant from the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at U-M. View the book trailer she created below, and read the fall edition of LSA Magazine to learn more about Dakota and what it’s like to live in a place that Marshall says is both wide-open and close-knit.