Current status of Keith Graves, one of the main people in documentary “The Overnighters”

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Updates: Multiple updates through conviction and sentencing.

Update 5/19/16: Convicted human trafficker Keith Graves has been moved to a federal penitentiary. Mr. Graves is confined in Victorville Medium II Federal Correctional Institution.

We can drop the word alleged from our discussions of Mr. Graves’ actions while he was living in North Dakota.

Update: Welcome to those arriving on this page via internet search after watching the documentary on PBS. There are many posts I’ve written about The Overnighters. Enjoy!

If you watch the superb documentary “The Overnighters”, you will find that one of the central players is a man by the name of Keith A. Graves. Since the documentary was released he has gotten a lot more public attention and will be in the news even more over the next few months.

I am going to extend my discussion of the documentary beyond what I’ve mentioned before. I’ve been wanting to talk about more things for a long time. My new posts will not be in chronological or logical sequence, instead I will build my coverage one piece at a time.

Because Mr. Graves is such a major part of the story covered in the documentary, I think it is worth following his story. This will reflect back into the documentary as well.

Update:  Second superseding indictment adds additional count for another alleged trafficking victim.

Update: Third superseding indictment adds 11th count for the eighth alleged trafficking victim. Also adds a forfeiture claim.

Update 10/1Keith Graves trial still set for October 19

Update 10/16: Looks like Keith Graves’ trial is a go for this Monday, 10/19

Full disclosure

Continue reading “Current status of Keith Graves, one of the main people in documentary “The Overnighters””

Does anything exist beyond what I can see with my own eyes? “The Overnighters” as an illustration.



(Lousy photos by James Ulvog of a man camp. This small facility is in a small city between Williston and Minot. There are a lot of these man camps around Western North Dakota that provide basic sleeping and dining facilities. They are all full. Sorry I don’t have pictures of the many that I’ve seen which are far larger than this one.)


Just one aspect of the brilliance of Jesse Moss’s movie “The Overnighters” is that the nuance and subtlety in it creates a springboard for so many discussions. It also serves as a Rorschach test to reveal the worldview of those watching the movie.

One core question forces its way into view after looking at reactions by viewers. A few ways to describe the issue:

  • Does anything exist beyond the limit of my vision?
  • Is there anything more to a story than what a camera can see? Beyond what people say when the camera is running?
  • Is there more to know about any issue than what a movie can cover in 102 minutes?

From reactions to the movie, many people believe the answer to those questions is a resounding “no.”

Continue reading “Does anything exist beyond what I can see with my own eyes? “The Overnighters” as an illustration.”

My favorite lines from movie “The Overnighters”. Some disclosures.

“I will not give in to despair because hopeless should never win and hopeless is a lie.”

Former pastor Jay Reinke, as the Overnighters program shuts down.

I agree. Hopeless is a lie. Despair is a lie.

“The problem is we’re working with sinners and some people are fearful.”

Andrea Reinke, as the family discusses complications of helping someone who is a registered sex offender.

Those are two of my favorite lines from the movie “The Overnighters”, which I watched for the second time last night.

Feet of clay

As Mrs. Reinke pointed out, everyone you will ever deal with is a sinner.

That concept has lots of implications. The movie does a superb job illustrating that concept. Consider:

“The Overnighters” movie available now

A movie about the oil boom in North Dakota, the impact in Williston, and how that played out in one church is now available at Amazon. I preordered a copy and it is downloading as I write.

Have been looking forward to seeing it a second time. I knew the story, particularly the ending, before seeing the movie the first time. Now I can watch the movie knowing how the movie presented the story.

Will have more to say about the movie after I watch it another time or two.

Continue reading ““The Overnighters” movie available now”

More good stuff on the Bakken – 11/13

Here’s a few quick notes on interesting news from the Bakken that I won’t cover in a separate post.

Hard work, determination, and perseverance will produce superb results in Bakken. With those skills in California, you are underemployed. And that assumes you can even find a job.

Here is one more in a non-ending string of stories of people who find success in the oil patch of North Dakota:

Continue reading “More good stuff on the Bakken – 11/13”

More good stuff on the Bakken – 11/8

Here are a few articles of what’s going on in North Dakota. Focus for this post is infrastructure and employment.

11/7 – Al Jazeera – From the wars of West Africa to the oil boom of North Dakota – Yes, my first link to Al Jazeera.

This is a superb story – in-depth view of the life of two immigrants from Africa (him Sierra Leone, her Liberia) who are making a combined $30 an hour Continue reading “More good stuff on the Bakken – 11/8”

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 10/28

Wide open frontiers:  energy production and one-man documentary production company.

Worlds far away I’ll never visit – Film production

One of the worlds I can only observe from a distance is making a feature documentary. I’ve been watching Jesse Moss as he produced and then marketed his documentary The Overnighters. That is a story of a Lutheran church in Williston that opened its doors to (predominantly) men working in the Bakken but arrived without a place to stay.

I’ll start to mention some of the coverage of the movie that is most helpful for me as I learn about that world.

10/10 – Tribeca – Jesse Moss Talks “The Overnighters’ and Morality in the Heartland – Interview with Mr. Moss goes into detail about how the documentary was recorded. Interesting tidbits are how he had to re-edit the footage to tell the story differently when the final dramatic event changed the whole story.

Since I haven’t mentioned anything about the movie before, that may not make sense.

I’m looking forward to seeing the movie because I know something about Williston, the church involved, and the overnighter program.

One fascinating part of this story is that Mr. Moss found sources, conducted interviews, recorded video, and generally developed this documentary by himself. Post-production work involved a very small team, but until that time, he was the entire crew.

For this month, he is in a different town every few days appearing at theaters where the documentary is being aired.


10/21 – The Feed – North Dakota Races to Frack BetterContinue reading “More good stuff on the open frontiers – 10/28”