In Colorado’s San Luis Valley, five-acre lots of land go for less than $5,000, but protection against marauding cattle, blistering winds, and distrustful neighbors isn’t included. In 2017, Ted Conover began spending part of the year on the high prairie, volunteering with a local organization called La Puente, which tries to keep valley residents from falling into homelessness during the cold Colorado winters. Soon enough, Conover—who has previously explored the lives of prison guards, railroad tramps, and Mexican migrants—bought a parcel of land and immersed himself in life on this margin of society, where contradiction and conspiracy theories thrive. His new book, Cheap Land Colorado, is a window into a world that is too often overlooked.
Go beyond the episode:
- Ted Conover’s Cheap Land Colorado: Off-Gridders at America’s Edge
- Read “The Last Frontier,” Conover’s 2019 essay about the beginning of his experience
- Our Autumn 2022 cover story explored another American margin: the wild ginseng hunters of Appalachia
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