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Wildcatter: A Story of Texas Oil (1985)

San Antonio Public Library

Sound | 1985

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  •  About the Spindletop oil field 
  •  Modern independent oilmen 
  •  Life of a boomer 
  •  About the Santa Rita oil well and Texon 
  •  Drilling disappointment 
  •  About the East Texas oil field 
  •  Inspecting the drilling fluid 
  •  Oil production takes over East Texas 
  •  Attempts at government regulation 
  •  The debate on nationalization 
  •  Failure 
  •  The demise of the boomtown 
  •  A dry hole 
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Produced by October Productions and the Dallas Historical Society, this 1985 documentary chronicles the history of the Texas oil boom. Using archival material and interviews, the film focuses on the development of three major oil fields: Spindletop, Big Lake, and East Texas. Texas folklorist, author, and professor William A. Owens narrates the story. Despite its admissions about the disastrous consequences of overproduction and the lack of government regulation, the documentary constructs a fairly nostalgic view of the period and the role of the independent wildcatter.