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, Badlands, SD 57750, United States

The arid Badlands, which stretch south and west from South Dakota's 244,000-acre Badlands National Park, have a reputation that precedes them, immortalized in Terrence Malick's bleak 1973 film. But this austere, otherworldly landscape also offers surprises for first-time visitors: fossil beds that are up to 37 million years old, and numerous free-roaming bison, fox, and bighorn sheep.

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Badlands National Park

The arid Badlands, which stretch south and west from South Dakota's 244,000-acre Badlands National Park, have a reputation that precedes them, immortalized in Terrence Malick's bleak 1973 film. But this austere, otherworldly landscape also offers surprises for first-time visitors: fossil beds that are up to 37 million years old, and numerous free-roaming bison, fox, and bighorn sheep.