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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."

More About This series

"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.


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

    Ray & Deanna SeniorOil Lease Operator & Project Manager

    Read Full Bio

    "Everyone knows everyone, even if you're new, and I really do like that small-town feeling." —Deanna Senior

    There are those who migrate to the Bakken solo to chase their dreams, but Ray and Deanna Senior brought their whole family. Building on previous oil industry experience, Ray worked up to 14 hours a day as an oil lease operator in Williston while the rest of the family remained in Rancho Mirage, CA. Several months later, Deanna and the four Senior children relocated to join Ray in his Bakken adventure, although the children required some convincing. "Our biggest challenge was letting the kids know that what we were doing was more for their benefit than ours," says Ray. "We'll be able to afford to send our kids to college, and my job is always going to be there. If my kids wanted to get into my profession, I'd be 110% for it because they'd have job security as well."

    "I feared that we were ruining our children's lives by moving to Williston, but our kids have been thriving," says Deanna. "It was the best thing we ever did. In California, we were living in a 'gilded bubble,' but it's a little more realistic here." A former interior designer, Deanna embraced the community and reinvented herself as a county project manager and elected school board member. The schedules that Deanna and Ray work can be demanding, but the financial security the family is achieving in the Bakken makes their efforts feel worthwhile. "Knowing we have money in the bank and we're saving for the kids' college and our retirement is a big weight off our shoulders," says Deanna, but she cautions people to prepare themselves for the harsh economics of the area before relocating. "We didn't realize the cost of living here would be so high. Don't come to Williston, ND, without money." Although adjusting to life in the Bakken can present significant challenges for some, the entire Senior family works together to ensure a bright future.

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