Windfall is one intrepid journalist's search for her long-lost great-grandmother on the American prairie. While this family mystery was what inspired her mission, climate journalist Erika Bolstad couldn't turn a blind eye from the irrevocable environmental damage Manifest Destiny wreaked across the American West.
At first, the only thing Bolstad knew about her great-grandmother, Anna, was that she was a homesteader in the early 1900s before being committed to an asylum under mysterious circumstances. After the passing of Bolstad's mother, a windfall found its
way to her—her family still owned the mineral rights to Anna's land. And oil companies were bidding for the black gold beneath the prairies.
Bolstad was drawn to the mystery of her ancestor and as a journalist well versed in the effects of fossil fuel and climate change, she felt a dissonance between what she knew of her great-grandmother and the environmental damage inflicted by the oil industry. Setting out for the North Dakota plains, Bolstad discovers a land of boom-and-bust cycles and a woman trying to eke out a living in an unforgiving landscape. She brings to life the ever-present American question: What does it mean to be rich?
A compelling and increasingly relevant thread connects thoughtful criticism of the long-lasting implications of mineral rights and the oil crisis coupled with a gripping mission to find a lost ancestor.