45º31'48.6"N 102º48'17.6"W. 107 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
A McDonalds trailer sits in a field outside in the small town of Prairie City, SD. About 15 years ago, not far from the what recently was the farthest place in the America from a McDonald's, a local rancher bought two semi trailers to use as storage and left them in a field along the side of the road, one of which now acts as a reminder of the ubiquitous nature of corporate America.
45º33'14.2"N 102º30'36.1"W. 114 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Eliza Blue holds her daughter Emily as her son Wesley closes his eyes and feels the coming storm winds on his face as they stand near an abandoned farmhouse on their leased land in Bison, SD. Much of rural America is still an agrarian society and in the midst of devastating drought like South Dakotans faced in 2017, ranchers and farmers spend much of their time wistfully staring at clouds on the horizon, hoping for much-needed rain.
45º29'43.2"N 102º19'59.6"W. 120 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
A group of men sit down around the dinner table for a meal of soup and sandwiches as they take a break from shearing sheep in the 20 degree weather and substantial winds at the Kronberg ranch in Meadow, SD on April 7, 2018. Sheep need to be sheared yearly for their health, but the cold weather caused issues, forcing the delay of shearing some of the herd, putting the rest in a barn, but for all the work, wool is worth hardly any money to working ranchers.
45º31'58.9"N 102º15'19.0"W. 121 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Scott Storm swings a rope as he practices team roping with his friend Kenny Kocer at Kocer's ranch in Meadow, SD. Storm was known as a great roper on teams years ago but stopped after he was married; he didn't rope again until his son was old enough to start.
45º24'42.3"N 102º16'54.3"W. 112 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Randy Hapney holds the neck of a horse while doing chiropractic work on a ranch on the old abandoned town of Chance, SD. Despite the timeless landscapes here, communities have embraced modern techniques to help with the burdens of rural life. Equine chiropractic work was generally looked at with suspicion for years but more ranchers have begun to use their services to fix issues with horses to keep them healthy and working longer.
45º26'49.9"N 102º10'07.6"W. 127 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Parishioners pray while worshiping at Coal Springs church in Meadow, SD. While many old prairie churches have closed over the years, some small congregations still struggle to survive, or have multi-point parishes with one pastor serving a large area.
45º32'31.3"N 102º29'52.1"W. 110 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Max Loughlin works on his taxes as his wife Eliza cleans up the dinner table, their son Wesley pretends to do taxes, and their daughter Emily runs around naked in the background in their family's four generation ranch home in Bison, SD on April 10, 2018. Max runs a cattle ranching operation on his family's land and works two other jobs to make ends meet while his wife Eliza performs as a musician and writes and records newspaper and radio columns for local publications and South Dakota Public Broadcasting.
45º38'23.3"N 102º02'21.7"W. 121 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
A group of friends round up cattle on land owned by a grazing association south of Lemmon, SD. Grazing associations are cooperative areas with group ownership that allow for the better use of range forage while conserving limited natural resources. The association land was ravaged by one of the region's largest wildfires in 2005, burning down much of the grassland and the old homestead but Cam Miles, son of one of the owners, spent days camped by the corrals and barn in an effort to save them.
45º30'35.5"N 102º13'48.2"W. 124 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Jessica Lawson holds the war bridle on Fred the horse as her boyfriend Shane Yalowizer goes to get ready for a swim on his ranch in Meadow, SD. South Dakota spent the summer in the midst of a state of emergency-level drought that caused many ranchers to sell parts of their herds to pay for feed and farmers to harvest their crops at a loss. Yalowizer works for the US Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service helping ranchers apply for funds to protect against drought or mitigate the disastrous results, but such federal aid can be a point of contention in a county that voted 80% for President Donald Trump's Republican administration.
45º18'57.2"N 102º11'54.2"W. 120 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Jamie Hepper and her 14-year-old daughter Aiyana Byrd work on removing fencing around an old hay yard on their ranch south of Meadow, SD. Jamie, a single mother, is one of the only local female ranchers working almost entirely alone, save for the help of her daughter. She also stands out as the only one in the area to raise the American plains bison, or buffalo, which still inspires the grazing patterns ranchers use to move their cattle from pasture to pasture.
45º31'30.5"N 102º27'48.7"W. 124 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Members of the Bison High School Cardinals varsity football team practice in Bison, SD. With only 46 students in the school, the team competes regionally in 9-man football, with 16-17 total players, many of whom, the coach said, only play varsity out of the team's necessity and not their personal ability.
45º27'04.3"N 102º02'27.5"W. Exactly 134 miles from two separate McDonald's.
People mill about at a potluck before a Ranchers Camp worship service in a field between the towns of in Meadow and Glad Valley, SD on July 30, 2017.
45º31'30.0"N 102º28'11.9"W. 111 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Two men remove their hats stand for the national anthem before the start of the Perkins County Rodeo in Bison, SD. In Perkins County, 23.8% of the population is over 65, significantly above the US average of 15.2%, and only 21% is under 18. It's sign of an aging population in rural communities with fewer young families staying here to replenish the population, seeking an easier way of life.
45º31'48.9"N, 102º12'59.8"W. 123 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
A derelict ranch, neglected for 7 months after it's owner died last July, is seen through the icy window of a car after an early-spring snowstorm in Meadow, SD on April 8, 2018. Perkins County has lost 74% of its population since 1910 and in the past 7 months, four residents of Meadow have died, lowering the population by 11% in less than a year.
45º31'48.9"N 102º12'59.8"W. 123 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Daryl Ferguson has an afternoon beer at Smoky's Bar and Grill in Meadow, SD. The town of Meadow has five residents on main street, a post office, 30 more residents in the surrounding ranches, and a bar which was recently bought and revitalized by a couple who moved back to the area. The bar, one of three in the surrounding 45 miles, is the main social gathering spot in "The McFarthest Place."
45º31'27.4"N 102º28'11.2"W. 111 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Cowboys compete in a ranch rodeo at the Perkins County Fairgrounds in Bison, SD. Ranch rodeos, unlike rodeos shown on television or seen around much of the country, are team events where four riders show their skills as horsemen and ranch hands in activities that would actually be performed on a ranch like trailer loading. When ranching is a majority of the work available in this region, rodeos become a major community event and source of pride.
45º31'59.1"N 102º15'20.5"W. 121 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Scott Storm and his son Travis, 12, relax after practicing team roping as Kenny Kocer puts away a saddle in his saddle shop on his ranch in Meadow, SD. Kenny built his own arena for practicing roping and invites a select group of locals to rope almost every night, teaching many young or beginning riders the skills to become both a good competitor and ranch hand.
45º23'03.5"N 102º34'14.8"W. 102 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Cam Vanderpool relaxes after weaning calves on the five generation Besler family ranch east of Bison, SD. There are rarely enough people to help with all the tasks on a ranch and during various points of the year many ranchers help each other and people who have moved away return to help for a few days or weeks, which means work often has a family reunion or social component.
45º44'23.0"N 102º13'06.9"W, 109 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
A deer crosses the road at the Shadehill Recreation Area south of Lemmon, SD. Nearby stands a monument to famous frontiersman Hugh Glass near the spot where he was mauled by a grizzly bear and left for dead, a part of the story which inspired the movie "The Revenant" 192 years later.
45º24'42.3"N 102º16'54.3"W. 112 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
Riley Cihak laughs as he fesses up to a mistake made while working as a hand on the Arneson ranch in the old abandoned town of in Chance, SD. Without a ranch in the family or the sizable savings required to buy a ranch, many locals with the skills to work with cattle work on a freelance basis for ranch owners, though some like Cihak have earned their way to permanent jobs on ranches.
45º32'31.2"N, 102º29'52.2"W. 110 miles from the nearest McDonald's. Eliza Loughlin holds her daughter Emmy as they comfort a baby bottle calf they named Gene after Kiss lead singer Gene Simmons after feeding him in the family's mudroom entry in Meadow, SD on April 8, 2018. Eliza, originally from Minnesota, has lived in a number of large cities, including New York, but moved to Meadow to record an album at a failed record label and stayed after falling in love with the people and the land, and later a rancher named Max Loughlin. As Perkins County continues to shrink in population, stories like Eliza's are rarer and rarer.
45º25'37.9"N 102º17'10.7"W. 113 miles from the nearest McDonald's.
The Arneson family and their employee Riley Cihak ride their horses through thick morning fog on their ranch in the old town of Chance, SD. The Arneson's are one of the few families in the area that haven't called their ranch home for generations, instead buying the old abandoned town of Chance and turning it into a 21,000 acre ranch, 40% more land than the island of Manhattan, after rising prices of land in Montana forced the family to move. Rising land prices are now threatening ranchers in South Dakota, placing pressure through taxes and estate taxes.