"Boomtowners" Gives America Raw Look at Bakken Life

By  | 

The explosion of oil development in North Dakota has been the subject of numerous news stories. Now, the Bakken has become Hollywood material.

This fall, Don Johnson will be staring in a dramatic series called "Boom" based on the states oil industry. Last night, the Smithsonian channel aired a six part docu-series called "Boomtowners."

The Smithsonian Channel series gives America a raw and uncensored look at what life is really like in the Bakken.

Ben Moorhead never dreamed he and his family would be part of a national television program when they tried out for the show.

"She was like, they are never going to pick us. But sure, why not? So, we went down and they liked us," said Ben.

The Moorheads think their children were a determining factor in making the final cut.

Ben's wife Phoebe Moorhead said, "I think it was our kids, they're crazy, they're made for television."

The Moorheads came to North Dakota from Phoenix, Ariz., because they were struggling to pay their bills.

"We couldn't make ends meet down there, we were treading water and not getting anywhere, it was just living paycheck to paycheck," said Ben.

Liberty Oil services, a fracking company based in Denver, Colo., is also featured in the six-part series. CEO Chris Wright was excited to get the chance to dispell myths about the fracking industry.

"Being on this show, as long as it was portrayed in a positive or neutral element, was something he was going to jump all over, and we were excited to do it," said Allen Penman, district manager of Liberty Oilfield Services

Perhaps the most colorful, entertaining and insightful segments of the series play out in Judge Greg Mohr's court room.

"I guess you can say it's kind of like the "Star Wars" bar scene because you don't know what's going to walk through that door," said Mohr.

Judge Mohr has been on the bench 28 years, he says arrests in sidney have increased 165 percent in the last two years.

It took a year to shoot and produce the documentary series in both eastern Montana and the Williston area. The series develops the characters by following them around in reality show style.

By the end of the series all of the characters in "Boomtowners" could become stars in the Bakken.

You can view the first episode of "Boomtowners" at the attached link.