About Dakota Attitude

The 617 stories that make up Dakota Attitude come from Jim Puppe’s treks to every North Dakota town and his interviews of residents in each. These stories, told in North Dakotans’ own words, reveal a spirit of resilience—a Dakota attitude—personally conceived, adopted, and applied during each storyteller’s life. Whether the stories evolved while fighting on foreign shores, facing bad crops or weather, surviving tragedies, or pursuing (and achieving) dreams, reading them will inspire, enlighten, and entertain.

In Their Own Words:
North Dakota's Past, Present, and Future

When you talk to more than a thousand people in the course of 617 interviews, you hear a lot of good stories. Like how one man discovered his future wife after she pulled a rabbit out of a hat at a magician show. We offer just a few of the stories here as a window into the rich storytelling found in Dakota Attitude.

Readers Share Their Thoughts


This book is dedicated to all North Dakota service men and women who died fighting for our freedom, including Jim’s dad’s first cousins, brothers Lester and Elmer Puppe, from rural Hensel.

These two died in combat just 69 days apart following the amphibious and air assault of southern Europe during World War II. Lester was killed by small arms fire near Brolo, Sicily, and Elmer died of shell fragmentation wounds just north of the Volturno River in Italy.

These brave soldiers were members of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, the same military unit as Audie Murphy, the most highly decorated American soldier during World War II.

The Puppe brothers are buried at the Sicily-Rome Cemetery, Nettuno, Italy, amongst 7,856 other American military war dead who gave the ultimate sacrifice—their lives for the free world. This cemetery also has a memorial to 3,095 other Americans missing in action from World War II. Over 200,000 people visit this military cemetery annually.

Lester W. Puppe (1920-1943)
Elmer A. Puppe (1917-1943)