During the mid-to-late-1980s much of the American Southwest came to resemble the closing scenes of The Last Picture Show, with the prairie winds blowing dry leaves and tumbleweeds past the filmtown’s dilapidated stores and shuttered movie house. Along a fault line running roughly from Tulsa to Dallas and Houston, the decay spread east, west, and south as far as Louisiana, Arizona, and Colorado. Throughout the region, once-busy oil rigs lay rusting, empty “see-through”...
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