Oklahoma: A Wilted Petunia

A Wilted Petunia

With so many of their farms and oil businesses going bust, Oklahomans may have begun to feel that the sprightly lyrics "You're doin' fine, Oklahoma! Oklahoma, O.K." of the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein tune suddenly sound tinny and surreal. The state was beset by 13 bank failures in 1985, more than in any year since the Depression, as well as more than 6,000 bankruptcies and farm-loan defaults. Still, Sooners were not prepared for the latest bad news: the oil well on the lawn of the state capitol in Oklahoma City has gone dry. Nicknamed Petunia when drilled in a flower bed...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!