“I used to say I was from the middle of nowhere,” says Jessie Veeder, a musician, writer, and rancher. “It turned from the middle of nowhere to the middle of everywhere.”
Jessie lives on the ranch in Watford City, North Dakota, that has been in her family for a century. Growing up, she watched as this town of 1,200 withered. Everyone told her, “No one stays here, there’s not enough work.” As she went off to Montana for college, she wasn’t sure when, or if, she would be able to move back. Then came North Dakota’s oil boom. Jessie’s husband Chad got a job in the oil industry. They returned home, along with thousands of others flocking to the North Dakota badlands looking for work. The couple’s dream of settling on the ranch and starting a family looked like it might come true.