John McChesney, former director of the Rural West Initiative, Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University
Ann Chambers Noble, historian and longtime resident of Pinedale, Wyo.
The discovery of oil and natural gas in Wyoming, Colorado and North Dakota has created a new generation of boomtowns. The explosive growth generated by the oil and gas drilling is often accompanied by an influx of new labor. The small towns near the fields wrestle to balance the economic advantages of the boom with the dramatic changes it brings to these tight-knit communities.