Harvesting the High Plains

About This Episode


In 1933, as the United States began to recover from the Great Depression, farmers from the panhandle of Texas to western Nebraska faced a greater, and much less forgiving foe — nature. The Dustbowl turned the Great Plains, America's breadbasket, into a a virtual desert.

Narrated by Mike Rowe, Harvesting the High Plains tells the rags-to-riches story of Ray Garvey and John Kriss, who made large-scale wheat farming a success under these adverse conditions. This compelling documentary recounts the men's decisions, failures and triumphs as it traces the rise of agriculture in the Midwest and on the Great Plains. Like farmers today, Garvey and Kriss faced numerous challenges, including inclement weather, mid-season policy changes, increasing tax rates and war-time rationing, all while trying to feed the country and the world. The film draws from Craig Miner's book of the same name, extensive correspondence between Kriss and Garvey (over a period of 14 years), and interviews with family members and former employees, farmers, contractors and associates.

Harvesting the High Plains

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