Kenny Rogers has had considerable success throughout his career with songs that tell stories ("Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town
," "The Gambler
"). He continued the tradition with this tune. "It's the story of a worker in the fields of the San Joaquin valley in the '30s and '40s, during the height of the depression and the Dust Bowl," he explained to Billboard
magazine. "If you studied history, you know that farmers quit working the soil in Oklahoma and went west. So, all that soil died and created the dust bowl. Eventually, everyone ended up west of the San Joaquin up on the mountaintops."
"The song is a letter that this worker is writing home to his wife," Rogers continued. "He says 'I'm sending you this money. I wish it could be more, but it's harder than I thought to find the work I came here for. It's very poignant to me, and almost cinematic."