“My Country No More”
Premieres Monday, January 7 at 10 PM ET on PBS
(Check your local listings)
Between 2011 and 2016, oil drilling in rural North Dakota reached its peak, setting off a modern-day gold rush in Trenton, North Dakota, population less than 1000. With billions of dollars to be gained in an industry-friendly state with a “reasonable regulation” climate, small towns like Trenton became overwhelmed by an influx of workers, and countless acres of farmland were repurposed for industrial development. My Country No More, a new documentary produced and directed by Rita Baghdadi and Jeremiah Hammerling, follows the rise and fall of the oil boom in North Dakota and paints a portrait of a rural American community in crisis.
Through the voices of Trenton’s residents, the film challenges the notion of “progress” and questions the long-term human consequences of short-term approaches to land use, decisions that ultimate affect all Americans, rural and urban alike.
Kalie Rider and her older brother Jed are striving to return to a life of farming after having suffered the loss of their parents’ farm during the 1980s farm crisis. Their uncle’s decision to sell a piece of land for a planned ethanol plant sets off a chain of consequences from which there is no turning back. With the Trenton church being eyed for a diesel refinery, the community becomes divided, with some favoring development and jobs, and others bemoaning the loss of their rural way of life.