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Boomtowners: Sneak Peek

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Boomtowners: Sneak Peek

Short | 00:30

Experience the Bakken oil boom through the eyes of the people affected by this modern-day "gold rush."

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"Boomtowners" plunges into a modern-day "gold rush" that's attracting thousands of people from all over the country to the Bakken, a region of North Dakota. An oil boom has turned the area into the epicenter of a white-hot industrial revolution, but a rise in jobs has also led to a surge in population and living costs. Experience this phenomenon first-hand through the eyes of newcomers and longtime residents trying to make a living there in this groundbreaking new docu-series about tapping into the American dream.


  • HON. GREG MOHR<SPAN>Richland County Judge</SPAN>
  • TONY MILLER<SPAN>Operations Specialist</SPAN>
  • HANNAH & DAN DOOLEY<SPAN>Business Owners</SPAN>
  • SANDI BEAGLE ANGEL<SPAN>Retiree, Land Owner</SPAN>
  • Ray & Deanna Senior<SPAN>Oil Lease Operator & Project Manager</SPAN>
  • SEAN & BROOKE BANKS<SPAN>Environmental Management Technician & Business Owner</SPAN>
  • BEN & PHOEBE MOORHEAD<SPAN>Oil Hauler & Court Reporter</SPAN>
  • Haley Mindt & Larysa Hurst<SPAN>Business Owner & Bookkeeper</SPAN>
  • HON. GREG MOHR<SPAN>Richland County Judge</SPAN>

    HON. GREG MOHRRichland County Judge

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    "We've got a lot of really good people who have made some dumb mistakes, but they have the capability to pull themselves up and make it work."

    Richland County Judge Greg Mohr maintains a grueling schedule, thanks in part to the current Bakken oil boom. His courtroom hosts a steady stream of oil workers and local residents who face charges such as driving under the influence, writing bad checks, and fighting. Arrests in his hometown of Sidney, MT, have increased by 165% over three years, and the pace in the Richland County courtroom has never been more hectic. "In February, we had 421 cases, and it was a slow month," says Mohr. "Our caseload depends on the month, the weather, even the phase of the moon." The stress of overcrowding also plays a part in the Bakken crime rate, and Mohr offers simple advice to inbound job-seekers: "This is the land of plenty, but be prepared and arrange for a place to live. We have a lot of people with $100,000 incomes who are homeless."

    Although Judge Mohr has been on the bench for 29 years, his personal experience as an oil driller during the area's oil boom in the 1970s helps him understand and help the people he meets in his courtroom. "When you give them opportunities to pull themselves together and you see them succeed, that makes it all worthwhile," says Mohr. His reputation as a tough-but-fair judge seems fitting based on the advice he frequently offers to defendants: "You don't want some guy wearing a black dress controlling your life. You control it, so make decisions that take me out of the equation." If the Bakken boom continues at its current rate of growth, Judge Mohr may have an overabundance of cases for years to come.

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