It was a heavy snowstorm that clobbered South Dakota last week -- up to four feet near Deadwood. That snow had a devastating effect on cattle ranches with the state's major industry has taken a massive hit.
The dead cattle littering the South Dakota prairie are victims of last week's freak fall blizzard. Tens of thousands were killed.
"A lot of guys were losing everything -- cows, calves, you name it," said rancher Monty Williams.
Many of the dead animals were found huddled in groups. Others were burried in snowbanks along a 100-mile swath of the storm's path. It's catastrophic for ranchers, said South Dakota Farmers Union director Karla Hofhenke.
'"By losing this year's calf crop, that's this year's paycheck for them. By losing the cows themselves, they've lost paychecks for years to come," she said.
The early autumn blizzard dumped up to four feet of snow in two days. It hit before the cattle had developed thick winter coats, and many may have died of hypothermia.