NORTH DAKOTA: The Good Years

Across the jagged Badlands, over the rolling plains of stubble wheat, and even in Watford City (pop. 1,087), there were still solid patches of snow. But the miracle had happened. Throughout North Dakota, the big thaw had come. The hard-bitten men who farm the northern tip of the onetime poverty-stricken U.S. "dust bowl" had survived a decade of dust, drought. WPA, grasshoppers, mortgages. Now, after a three-year spell of war and golden weather, they could afford a little fun in town.

At the City Bar's wide wooden counter, MacKenzie County farmers, their...

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