Okemah, where Woody Guthrie once lived and wrote songs, was fighting for existence in the late 1920s and early 1930s as the oil boom ended, cotton fell to ten cents per pound, and Prohibition was in force. Young Rutland was the product of a "broken" home. After his father died of pneumonia at twenty-six years old, Rutlands mother, unable to care for her children, sent Robert off to live with his alcoholic but caring grandfather, 'Pop', and his wife, 'Mom'. The boarding house in which they lived had a steady stream of personalities flowing through, both for the food Mom served inside to the oil crews and assorted guests and for the booze Pop served out back. Beyond the boarding house, life was equally rich for young Rutland: talking movies on Saturday for a dime, a library filled with magical titles, medicine shows, school yard bullies, bloody noses, and summer camp. But these simplicities of life were mixed with the often painful lessons of reality in depression-era Oklahoma, with poverty, alcoholism, violence, and racism. Told with caring detail, A BOYHOOD IN THE DUST BOWL will carry readers back to a long-lost place and time.