History

The Dust Bowl

The Dust Bowl chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, in which the frenzied wheat boom of the Great Plow-Up, followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation.

Reaping the Whirlwind

1h 55m

Black Sunday was only halfway through the decade-long crisis. The storms continued. The Great Depression still affected people. Government programs were instituted to help. Learn what FDR’s administration did to try to keep the southern Plains from becoming a North American Sahara desert. Find out why some residents finally decided they had to give up and move somewhere else and how some held on.

Episodes

  • Reaping the Whirlwind: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Reaping the Whirlwind

    S1 E2 - 1h 55m

    Black Sunday was only halfway through the decade-long crisis. The storms continued. The Great Depression still affected people. Government programs were instituted to help. Learn what FDR’s administration did to try to keep the southern Plains from becoming a North American Sahara desert. Find out why some residents finally decided they had to give up and move somewhere else and how some held on.

  • The Great Plow-Up: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Great Plow-Up

    S1 E1 - 1h 55m

    The grasslands of the southern Plains were rapidly turned into wheat fields. Then following the early years of the drought, storms killed crops and livestock and literally rearranged the landscape. The worst storm of them all was on April 14, 1935—Black Sunday—a searing experience for everyone caught in it, including a young songwriter from Pampa, Texas, named Woody Guthrie.

Extras + Features

  • Reaping the Whirlwind | Preview: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Reaping the Whirlwind | Preview

    S1 E2 - 30s

    Experience the conservation efforts to bring farms back to life, with dangers of another Dust Bowl in the future.

WETA Passport

Stream tens of thousands of hours of your PBS and local favorites with WETA Passport whenever and wherever you want. Catch up on a single episode or binge-watch full seasons before they air on TV.