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There are also the occasional lava-capped mesas and dike formed ridges, surmounting the general level by 500 ft (150 m) or more and manifestly demonstrating the widespread erosion of the surrounding plains.
All these reliefs are more plentiful towards the mountains in central Montana.
Much of the region was home to American bison herds until they were hunted to near extinction during the mid/late-19th century.
It extends northward from the Mexican boundary far into Canada.
Although the altitude of the plains increases gradually from 600 or 1,200 ft (370 m) on the east to 4,000–5,000 or 6,000 feet (1,800 m) near the mountains, the local relief is generally small.
The semi-arid climate excludes tree growth and opens far-reaching views. They are of diverse structure and of various stages of erosional development.
They are occasionally interrupted by buttes and escarpments. Yet on the whole, a broadly extended surface of moderate relief so often prevails that the name, Great Plains, for the region as a whole is well-deserved.
The Great Plains are the westernmost portion of the vast North American Interior Plains, which extend east to the Appalachian Plateau.