The Worst Hard Time

The Worst Hard Time

by

Timothy Egan

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Also called, “homesteaders,” they were the people who had settled on the southern High Plains in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, southern Nebraska, southeastern Colorado, and northeastern New Mexico.

Nesters Quotes in The Worst Hard Time

The The Worst Hard Time quotes below are all either spoken by Nesters or refer to Nesters. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the First Mariner edition of The Worst Hard Time published in 2006.
Chapter 4 Quotes

In the German settlements on the High Plains, there was no more defiant celebration of group survival than a wedding. The rest of the year, the Anglos could make fun of their clothes, the sheriff could call them in for questioning, the merchants could refuse them entry into stores, the children could mock their accents, the farmers could laugh at their planting methods, and other immigrants could deride them as “Rooshians.” But the wedding day on this Sunday in September 1929 belonged to the Germans from Russia. Through an improbable journey of 166 years, they had bounced from southern Germany to the Volga River region of Russia to the Cherokee Outlet of Oklahoma. The Russlanddeutschen were not Russian nor were they fully German. Hardened by long exile, state cruelty, and official ridicule, they wanted only to be left alone. The treeless expanse of the southern plains was one of the few places in the United States that looked like home.

Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
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Nesters Term Timeline in The Worst Hard Time

The timeline below shows where the term Nesters appears in The Worst Hard Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Wanderer
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...festive cowboy,” who would be the “forerunner of an advanced civilization.” The new settlers, or nesters, used the dried turds that the bison left behind as sources of heat in their... (full context)
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...sustain any cultivated crop. The only thing the Panhandle could grow was grass. Still, the nesters came anyway, and the cowboys resented them, regarding them as “bonnet-wearing pilgrims” and “religious wackos,”... (full context)
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...and “dressed like whites.” Dalhart had no history before the XIT ranch. Though the white nesters were basically refugees, the local newspaper, the Dalhart Texan, described them as people with “the... (full context)
Chapter 2: No Man's Land
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...of the famous Dutch windmills, and the Union Pacific Railroad Company bought many. Later, a nester was able to purchase a windmill kit for around seventy-five dollars. Still, one had to... (full context)
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
While trying to dig for water, nesters feared grass fires. Hazel Lucas “was petrified of prairie fires.” A few years after her... (full context)
Chapter 8: In a Dry Land
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...and lived there since the era of Christ. It astonished him to think that the nesters had been there for barely a generation and the land was already “collapsing from within”... (full context)
Chapter 11: Triage
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...caused twenty-one inches to fall in No Man’s Land, but they were dark flakes. The nesters called it a “snuster.” During these storms, which were very frequent in 1934, “visibility was... (full context)
Chapter 14: Showdown in Dalhart
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...had owned, and how there were no farmers when they started. He hated what the nesters had done to the land—tearing up good earth. It was a crime against nature, he... (full context)
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...men” arose from the worst conditions. Americans were generally soft, but not the High Plains nesters—they were “Spartans.” Meanwhile, Hugh Bennett had received the letter sent by the cowboys. His project... (full context)
Chapter 17: A Call to Arms
Westward Expansion and the Settlement of the Southern Plains Theme Icon
...the Last Man Club, designating himself as president. No matter what, he and other like-minded nesters said, they would not leave the land. The first signatory was a former XIT trail... (full context)
Chapter 23: The Last Men
Anglo Culture and Racism Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...shunned Bam White for being in a film that made it seem as though the nesters were responsible for their own demise. They berated him as a “half-breed and traitor to... (full context)