South Dakota has its own unique sense of cultural identity, which is reflected via its strong western, American-Indian heritage. It out-competes its North Dakotan counterpart on the population front and its output of indigenous films, books and music reflect this.
Zona Gale is probably one of South Dakota’s best known female writers when it comes to literature; as her skills as a novelist, short-story writer, playwright and poet stretched far and wide. Gale’s 1920 novel, Miss Lulu Bett, was adapted for the Broadway stage and the cinema screen soon after its publication. She was widely acclaimed in her time and was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize.
On the other hand, Fredrick Manfred could be considered to be one of South Dakota’s most famous male writers. He wrote a five-book sequel called The Buckskin Man Tales of which Conquering Horse is the first novel. The sequence is all about Indian life in Great Plains before Caucasian colonialism. His latest book, written in 1992 and called Of Lizard and Angels, focuses on domestic and family bonds through three generations of South Dakotan life.
Similarly, the film Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, adapted from Dee Brown’s novel, is also based on Native American life in Dakota. Badlands, directed by Terrence Malick, is one of South Dakota’s greatest cinematic achievements and is considered a classic of American cinema; it uses the landscape of the state to great effect. Epic Western Dances with Wolves also represents the culture and heritage of South Dakota; it focuses on the relationship between indigenous Native American tribes and early American settlers.
South Dakota is home to lots of different varieties of musical influences. From cowboy country, such as artists like Dale Evans and Patsy Montana, to blues rock with bands such as Indigenous.