In 1913, Doug Midgett's grandfather gazed at the tableland around Sumatra, Montana and saw a hopeful future of verdant crops. Looking at the same land fifty years later, Doug's father, who grew up in Sumatra, saw perennial drought, searing heat, and stifling dust storms. Poet Gwendolyn Haste lived in Eastern Montana in the early 1920s and watched the losing battles of its farmers:
"...Seven full years, says the Book, and seven lean -
And we come in at the end of the full ones, I guess.
There ain't no crops where they's no rain.