Among the worst hit in the Depression were the farmers of the Great Plains. Dust Storms, the lowest wheat prices in 300 years, and the stifled economy brought desperation to the Midwest. With no options at home and the promise of opportunity in California, thousands of farmers took their families west in search of jobs and new lives.
John Steinbeck wrote about the Dust Bowl and the “Okie” migration to California in his extraordinary book The Grapes of Wrath. The novel about the Joads explored the trials of the journey, the struggles and disappointments they found in California and the strain it placed on a formerly proud family, torn apart by the forces of a national tragedy.