Born in 1949, Dan grew up on the family cattle ranch in Rees Heights, South Dakota. At an early age, Dan and his brothers were breaking ponies and later, horses. Dan started drawing at an early age, inspired by the life he was in the process of living. “I knew early on that I wanted to be an artist…when we were little our parents bought us reams of paper instead of coloring books which gave me a big advantage. I didn’t have to stay inside the lines!” Dan's love of history, evident in the historical correlation between his art and the Old West, was partly inspired by the fact that the ranch contained two pre-Columbian buffalo jumps and countless tipi rings left behind by earlier inhabitants.