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April 18, 2013 10:05 PM

Running Wild: The Life Of Dayton Hyde

Sioux Falls, SD

It's considered by many as one of the most beautiful places in the Black Hills, yet not many people know about it or the man behind it. 

As far as the eye can see, there are miles upon miles of rocky canyons, buffalo prairie grass and dark pine trees. 

This is home to hundreds of wild horses. 

"I've traveled all over North America looking for grazing land for horses and this is by far the best I've ever found," Dayton Hyde said.

Dayton Hyde has been taking care of these horses with unbridled passion for more than 25 years. If not for Hyde, many of these horses would have been slaughtered. 

"The horses come first, I saw them in government feedlots in Nevada and I grew up with wild horses and it just made me angry that it came to that," Hyde said.

So Hyde decided somebody needed to do something.

"I turned my ranch over to my kids and took off to find a place with super food and range and a lot of area that they could run free," Hyde said.

That place was here near Hot Springs.

"There's a lot here, beautiful canyons and mountain meadows, the Cheyenne River winds through it and flows four different directions here, which made is sacred to the Native American population," Hyde said.

This old cowboy has not only earned the respect of the Native Americans, but has caught the eye of film makers. 

Running Wild is a new documentary feature film that explores the life of Dayton Hyde - a cowboy conservationist, who has dedicated his life to saving wild horses and protecting the land of the American west.

1988 I saw hundreds of wild horses held captive, they were just miserable, I had to do something about it..

The film talks about Hyde's strong opposition to uranium miners in the area, who he says threaten the aquifer.

"We are afraid the water will become polluted where the horse can't drink and people will suffer too from related illnesses," Hyde said.

Dayton is a holy man, a man of great vision, Dayton's shoes can't be filled, There's never going to be anyone else like him

The film has already been shown in many areas of the country, but will make its South Dakota debut this weekend.

"I am tickled to death with the response just said to love it and it's been shown a dozen times with standing ovations, so somebody did something right, " Hyde said.

Hyde credits the film makers and producers for its success.  But isn't shy to talk about the message behind the movie

"Even an old cowboy can do something worthwhile, and if he's stubborn enough, because we really need people involved and helping this planet," Hyde said.

My battle is to keep this place going, we're lucky to break even, seven days a week, no vacations, no salaries, cold typical spring in South Dakota

But the old crusty cowboy isn't about to give up.

He's fought the government, he's fought the neighbors, he's fought everybody....

"It may be my last big battle in my life at 88, but I'm going to win this one, I'm bound and determined," Hyde said.

Sunday, April 21st Cinema Falls is hosting two screenings of RUNNING WILD: THE LIFE OF DAYTON HYDE at ICON lounge in downtown Sioux Falls. To learn more click here.

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