Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"The Overnighters": Great Desperation Surrounds a Small Oil Boom 

Tuesday, Oct 21 2014
Comments

Is there any small town in America with its name printed on the side of its water tower that isn't going through tough times right now? As seen in Jesse Moss's roundly depressing documentary The Overnighters, Williston, N.D., is perhaps doing better than the town in Rich Hill, but not by a lot. The dirty and dangerous practice known as fracking has created new oil fields and turned Williston into a boom town, but as often happens with boom towns, it's attracting thousands of down-and-out pilgrims. Embracing the unfashionable Christian tenet about helping even the least among you, Pastor Jay Weinke opens the doors of his church and gives these desperate job-seekers a place to sleep. And there his troubles begin with his fellow Willistonians, particularly since there's been a noticeable uptick in crime recently. When the secret gets out that Weinke is allowing a registered sex offender to stay with his family, the town's outrage turns The Overnighters into a sort of sociological Straw Dogs. But even with all the despair on display, the real gut punch comes at the very end, when Weinke reveals his own secret. It seems to change everything, except for what we always knew: He was a conflicted man trying to do the right thing when nobody else would.

Tags:

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly

Comments


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"