Pray for Rain

With Don Cheadle

Why this story needs to be told

I wanted to know what caused the drought that cost these people their jobs. Was it just an act of god? Part of the natural cycle? Or could it have been caused by us?

Don Cheadle

Spotlight Video

Don Cheadle attends a going away party for Nelly Montez who lost her job at the Cargill processing plant. He meets her friends and former coworkers who have also lost their jobs. Ten percent of the town's population was employed at the plant.


Last year, Cargill, the largest privately-held company in the U.S., closed down its huge meat-packing plant in Plainview, TX.  The company said that because of the drought there just weren’t enough cattle to make it worthwhile to keep the plant open.

In Pray for Rain, Don Cheadle visits Plainview and finds that most people blame the drought on the will of God or say it’s part of a natural cycle. Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and Evangelical Christian, has a very different explanation.


Lubbock TX; Plainview, TX; Portales, NM

Photo: The Years Project / Bill Matlock

Meet The Characters

That day when they told us, they took us into the cafeteria…It was like they rounded up a herd of cattle…and just hit us over the head with it.

Nelly Montez

I was born into it, I was born right here. Never really wanted to do anything else until now but the thought of doing something different crosses your mind pretty regular now, maybe it’s not going to rain I don’t know. Everybody prays for it every day. I don’t know what causes it It doesn’t matter, it’s happening and the end result’s the same.

Monte Best

Behind The Scenes

Science Behind The Story


In Texas a three-year drought devastated the cattle herd causing the total cattle herd in Texas to be reduced by 2 million cattle.



The YEARS team is committed to covering stories about how we’re all impacted by climate change. Let us know if you see something you’d like us to investigate.