Summary of Great American Outpost

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

Great American Outpost book summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans




  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging


American oil production dramatically increased in the early 2000s thanks to fracking, which made a remote corner of North Dakota one of the nation’s most productive oil regions. Journalist Maya Rao traveled there to research this modern gold rush and to learn how it affected people, the local economy and the environment. Through colorful stories, she details the struggles of out-of-state workers, longtime residents, officials and investors as the Bakken oil boom crested and waned. Her entertaining saga reveals an important economic story that continues to unfold.

About the Author

Maya Rao is a staff writer at the Washington, DC, bureau of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She has also written for The Atlantic, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Awl website and Longreads. 



In 2014, with oil prices at more than $100 per barrel, fracking enabled a massive oil boom in North Dakota’s Bakken oilfield.

The boom in northwestern North Dakota centered around an area known as the Bakken shale formation. When the boom began, the real estate buyers who worked for the oil companies were the first to arrive, seeking to buy drilling rights from local landowners and municipalities. Next came big oil rigs, followed by the laborers who ran the hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling operation called ”fracking” and drove trucks full of supplies, oil and waste. By June 2014, North Dakota surpassed one million barrels a day in oil production. 

The Wild Bison Truck Stop served as a gateway for people streaming into the region. The boom was an opportunity for thousands of new arrivals to start over in an unusual, remote setting.

Located on Highway 85 north of Interstate 94, the Wild Bison Truck Stop welcomed the crowds of people streaming into the region looking for work. The members of the Kysar family...

More on this topic

The New North
China's Great Wall of Debt
The Russian State and Russian Energy Companies, 1992–2018
Grand Transitions
What Did We Know? What Did We Do?
The Color of Money

Related Channels

Comment on this summary