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Quartzsite: The real 'Nomadland'

Posted at 5:58 AM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 15:15:26-04

QUARTZSITE, AZ — Now that it's been more than a year since the movie 'Nomadland' debuted, we wanted to know what kind of impact it had on Quartzsite, where part of the movie is filmed.

Towards the beginning of the film, Fern, played by Frances McDormand, decides to begin her life as a "nomad" and attends training in Quartzsite where people learn to live off the land or live inside vans and RVs.

From there, Fern ends up spending more time in Quartzsite and starts to really love it - which is something Quartzsite residents say happens to everyone!

Harold Harcrow is 86 years old and recently decided to park his RV in the town.

"It's a choice," he explains.

Harcrow says he has been invited to live with his daughter, but there's something about living in his RV and traveling around he really enjoys.

He says he purchased the RV after his wife died nine years ago.

"I'd rather be living with my wife in a house, but I am 86 and that's a little too old to get married again! It's way too old to get married again!" Harcrow explains, with a big laugh and a smile.

Harcrow retired at 50 after spending years as a successful used car salesman.

Since the movie debuted last year, longtime residents like Brenda Goff say she thinks it's had an impact --not only bringing more tourists but also bringing more people who want to try life on the road.

"We're definitely seeing more nomads right now," explains Goff.

In fact, Goff decided to modify her business to accommodate more people who are living off the land or in RVs - outside her grocery store, Coyote Fresh Foods, she's added tables and chairs so people can come and sit and enjoy a meal (check out the pork chops and ribeye you can get at their deli and butcher!)

Goff herself has an interesting story: In 2011, she was vacationing in Quartzsite from Indiana --and decided she needed to stay! She would begin as a winter visitor, but would eventually become a permanent resident in 2018.

"There's nowhere like Quartzsite!"

"Once you've been here a little while, you begin to understand why others stay," explains Quartzsite Town Manager Jim Ferguson.