Dust and Depression Transcript

[Lively music]

[Narrator] On a farm near Weyburn, Saskatchewan. September 1928.

[Mother] Finally! After three years... a good crop of wheat.

[Father] Oh! We were almost ready to give up.

In Ontario, we'd never go months without rain.

[Farmer] Let's hope the drought's behind us for good, but in Saskatchewan you just never know!

[Narrator] It is being called Black Friday as millions lose money in the crash.

Prices for farm products are expected to plummet as people have less money to spend on even basic goods such as food.

Banks reported crowds of panic customers demanding to withdraw their savings.

[Father] Ah! No use! Wheat needs rain.

[Farmer] Even if it does grow, the price it gets these days means it's hardly worth selling it.

To think we got a dollar a bushel a year ago.

[Father] Yeah, we'd be lucky to get 50 cents now.

Do you hear that? Finally! A storm!

[Farmer] That's not rain. It's dust!


[Wind blowing]


[Father]  It's gone... All of it... gone.

[Narrator] The next year the family replants and hopes for the best.

[Father] One good crop would make such a difference.

That bit of rain we got last week might be enough.

[Son] Hey dad! Look at the grasshoppers!

[Father] Get inside!

[Sombre music]

[Baby crying]

[Father] Not again.

[Narrator] Drought, insects, bad weather... one disaster after another.

After several hard years on the prairies trains arrived filled with much needed supplies for the struggling farmers.

[Son] What's that?

[Mother] I don't know, but I'm sure it will taste good.

[Friend] I heard that Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in Winnipeg collected clothes to send to Saskatchewan.

[Mother] You mean we can stop sewing patches on top of patches?

[Father] People are so kind. I just wish we didn't need the help.

[Lightning strikes]

[Father] Look at that!

[Son] Is this rain? I almost forgot it!

[Mother] Yes! At long last!

[Narrator] For ten long years, Saskatchewan and much of the prairies suffered through a period we now call "The Dust Bowl."

Thousands of families simply gave up and moved north hoping for better farming conditions.

Those who stayed faced hunger and uncertainty.

Farmers have learned a lot since then.

Like how to plant crops that can handle the prairie climate and when the weather does destroy crops, the government provides help for farmers so they can continue feeding Canada and the world.

[Lively music]