Goldwell is an artist residency near Beatty, Nevada on the border of Death Valley National Park, adjacent to the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada. In December 2012/January 2013, we were in residence there to continue our photographic work, focusing on the historic images people use to gain insight into past lives. Using the natural and cultural landscape of Death Valley and surrounding areas as a context, we created a series of photographs depicting ourselves as nineteenth-century characters struggling to come to terms with a harsh and alien environment. From the perspective of these Midwestern farmers, the desert represents a kind of unconscious dystopia, a manifestation of the fears and repressions of the Midwestern settlers. The images depict hopeless efforts to force a land of perpetual drought to bear fruit.