In 1972, Dennis Parks, a young potter with a promising academic career ahead of him, decided to move to Tuscarora, a near-abandoned mining town in remote northeastern Nevada. Parks and his wife were attracted to Tuscarora's isolation and beautiful setting, and they believed that it might be a healthy environment in which to raise their two small sons. This is Parks' account of his family's life in Tuscarora, a tiny settlement whose population even forty years later numbers fewer than twenty permanent residents.
Parks created a pottery school that attracts students from around the world and developed for himself an international reputation as the creator of powerful, innovative works in clay. Meanwhile, he and his family had to master the skills required of those who choose to live in the back country--growing and hunting their own food, renovating or building from scratch the structures they needed for residences or studios, resolving conflicts with neighbors, inventing their own amusements. The transformation from middle-class urbanity to small-town simplicity is, as Parks reveals, a lurching and sometimes hilarious process, and the achievement of self-sufficiency is similarly fraught with unexpected challenges.