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What’s the real cost of crude if boomtown oil workers can’t make ends meet?

The oil and natural gas boom in the US is frequently depicted as a blight on the environment by liberals and as an unprecedented economic opportunity by conservatives. It may be both, but as the director Isaac Gale shows in this stark portrait of Williston, North Dakota, the life of oil workers in shale boomtowns is another matter altogether – filled with enormous uncertainty and propelled by the promise of big money. For those enduring the tough new life on the plains, there’s a common refrain that is half hard-nosed, half despairing: ‘You just do what you gotta do.’

Director: Isaac Gale

Producer: Alec Soth

8 January 2015

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