The nomadic community spreads accross the desert between the Salton Sea and the Chocolate Mountains. The population dips during the warm summer months to around 75, but easily climbs into the thousands during the winter.
Following her last wishes, Jerry takes Darla down to a watering hole near the irrigation canals so that she can sit in the water. She said, “I love the water, this is what I have been waiting for.” Jerry added, “I just want to make her last days here peaceful and happy.”
Tumbleweed (his only name given) sits on the couch with his best friend’s wife, Moria Morofsky, in the Morofsky’s trailer. Weeds, as he likes to be called by his friends, visits the couple daily to watch movies and smoke pot. He says of Moria, “If Ben had not married her, I surely would have.” The coment generated an uncomfortable laugh from Moriah.
With his wife Darla near catatonic, Jerry Jones mentally resigns himself to her fate, saying, “There is nothing left I can do. God tell me what else I can do. All I got is wait.”
Resting in the sun, Larry McCullough’s dog Chocolate, looks up from a nap next to one of McCullough’s six cars. He uses the cars for spare parts and to salvage. McCullough says, “Life out here requires a little ingenuity and a whole lot of patience.”
With a little ingenuity, Mark Miller rolls his own cigarettes from spent butts he collected from nearby construction sites.
The graves of past friends, both human and animal, lie in the desert on the edge of Slab City. The makeshift cemetery is now home to many past residents.
Judd Jones sits on his couch with his dog Coco while best friend Dave Hines kisses his dog, Blackie. Both men suffer from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and medicate themselves with anything they can find. Today it was malt liquor stolen from the nearby market. Jones was arrested later that day for an outstanding warrant from December when he raped his mother and set her trailer on fire with her in it. She did manage escape.
Borrowing the pool used by his six dogs to keep cool during the summer heat, Willie Reynolds, cools off with his weekly bath. He was given arm floaties for his birthday. He says, "They are good to keep me from drowning." Adding, today is my birthday, so I wanted to take a bath for my party." Willie's friends threw him a barbecue and surprised him with a cake.
With a beer in hand Willie Reynolds drops by to see his friend Johnny Hilliard. Reynolds suffers from schizophrenia and chronic headaches. He says the heat, which reaches to 120 degrees during the summer months, makes it worse, adding, "The beer helps cool me off and makes my headaches go away."
Ashley Appleby sleeps while her father Robert, far left, mother Crystal Strieker, right, and family friend, Ben Morofsky plan how to get the family out of their squatters' community. The Morofsky's had their three children taken from them by Child Protective Services three years ago. Ben says they took them because of their rough living conditions. CPS has been interviewing the family recently. They all fear CPS is planning on removing Ashley from the family. The Appleby's are trying to move to Washington State where there cousin owns land that they intend to build on. Ben says, "She is our little princess, and we are going to do whatever we can to make sure they don't take her."
Ben and Moria Morofsky exchange vows before Alan Franklin, and best man, Earnie Loza in front of the Range music venue. The Morofsky's, who have been together for 14 years, are only the second couple to tie the knot in Slab City. Ben says, “Since the County came and stole my kids from me, Moria is all I got left. Without her I would have done killed myself by now. She is all I got now.”