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Marvin Smith of California, pictured Friday in Williston, plays gospel music around town when he's not searching for work or housing.

Faces of the Boom: Second wind leads to blue hair, unretirement and new friends


WILLISTON -- Californian Marvin Smith got a second wind at 70 and decided to move to North Dakota to chase one more oil boom.

Smith knew his days as a derrickhand were long behind him, but he thought he was still healthy enough to work in the oilfield.

He got a reality check when he approached a drilling crew taking a break at a Williston truck stop to get advice about finding a job. A young worker looked him up and down and asked, "Man, how old are you?"

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Amy Dalrymple

Amy Dalrymple is a Forum News Service reporter stationed in the Oil Patch. She can be reached at or (701) 580-6890.