Photos, text capture spirit of the Missouri

Photos, text capture spirit of the Missouri The Missouri River. It is our state's most distinctive and important natural feature. It gives life. It wreaks havoc. It even divides. us.

But on thing is clear in The Missouri: South Dakota's River Legend. This river is beautiful.

The Missouri follows the legendary waterway on its winding journey through South Dakota, from the barren prairies north of Mobridge to the quiet farmland bordering Sioux City. The book's 118 color photographs by photojournalist Greg Latza, document not only the raw beauty of the river and its surrounding terrain, but also tribal culture, vital conservation practices and the countless fascinating personalities found within a stone's throw of its shores.

Some of these personalities are profiled by renowned South Dakota writer Kevin Woster. Sprinkled throughout the book, these stores provide keen insight into the river culture, as well as a few surprising facts and just a touch of Woster's home-grown humor. We discover details about Sacagawea's last resting place near the land of Sitting Bull. We meet people like Bob Hipple, a centenarian who shaped river history during his extraordinary life. And we discover natural resources that live above and below water: the nearly extinct pallid sturgeon, bald eagles, plentiful walleyes and volatile rattlesnakes.

Latza and Woster gathered material for The Missouri during a four-year period. They divided the river into five sections, choosing to profile a selection of people and issues within each section.

Trained as a newspaper photojournalist, Latza honed his craft in newsrooms at the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the Salina (KS) Journal, the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin and as a Milwaukee Journal intern. He is currently employed on a freelance basis, working on assignment for publications like The New York Times, USA Today, Successful Farming and Farm Journal, and for advertising clients such as Wells Fargo and Gateway.

Latza and his wife Jodi own and operate PeopleScapes Publishing, the company that serves as a structure for Greg's photography and Jodi's writing and graphic design work. Besides The Missouri, the Latzas have published Back on the Farm, Hometown, S.D., and a children's book, South Dakota: An Alphabetical Scrapbook.

A newspaper reporter in this state for more than 25 years, Woster currently covers western South Dakota and the outdoors for the Rapid City Journal. He possesses perhaps the most extensive knowledge of the river's history and people than anyone else in South Dakota, and his writings about outdoor issues and sense of humor are cherished by his fellow South Dakotans.

The Missouri was a natural fit for South Dakota Magazine publisher and Yankton native Bernie Hunhoff, who wrote the foreword. His recollection of personal experiences along the river and his sense of river history provide an added dimension that can be attributed to some who hold close ties to the river.

A must for any South Dakota collection, The Missouri is now available at many South Dakota bookstores and by special order from PeopleScapes. For more information contact Greg or Jodi Latza at 605-338-5150, via e-mail at, or visit

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