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Steamboat Magazine

One Book Filmmaker Night: Cheap Land with Kate Perdoni

See the new Rocky Mountain PBS documentary special CHEAP LAND, then engage in a conversation with the award-winning filmmaker

Throughout Colorado, an intense marketing campaign of cheap land and plentiful water has created 175 years of growth-oriented settlements. From lack of available resources to land and water rights, the arid, desert west is now atoning with reality. Systems clashes raged at once across what is now south-central Colorado and northern New Mexico as the area shifted to become part of the United States of America post-Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848). Predominantly Anglo prospecting companies immediately worked to commodify the pre-existing, community-oriented land and water systems of thousands of first-wave Native American, Mexican, Spanish, and Genizaro settlers. Early estate managers were tasked with subdividing Mexico's Sangre de Cristo land grant into private estates. They moved to evict settlers and “squatters," careful not to remove so many that there would not be a labor force for the mines, fields, and railroads. Post-Treaty, an eastern influx brought new metrics: the Public Land Survey System grid, diversion of streams and waters, and construction of vast canal systems and reservoirs meant to store and utilize water at the scale of the dreams of man.

In Costilla County, real estate companies marketing the former Sangre de Cristo Land Grant still offer cheap land — now, without amenities. Though many attempt to homestead on the inexpensive plots, few are able to survive and thrive without ready access to water, electricity, and other services. Months of research and interviews unveil and link historic and modern-day findings in this Rocky Mountain PBS special, a perfect companion to reading Ted Conover's Cheap Land Colorado.

Date & Time

May 31, 2023

7:00PM - 8:30PM


Bud Werner Library Hall - 1289 Lincoln Avenue, steamboat Springs, CO, 80487 1289 Lincoln Avenue steamboat Springs 80487 CO US

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