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  • Writer's picturePodcast Librarian

Bundyville: When cattle grazing isn't just about cattle grazing

The Premise (from Apple Podcasts):

From Longreads and Oregon Public Broadcasting, "Bundyville" is a seven-part series chronicling the rise, fall and resurgence of the Bundy family, the armed uprisings they inspired and the fight over the future of the American West.

Series or standalone:


Begin listening to:

The Battle


Investigative reporting


Leah Sottile

Sound/production quality:

Very good

Rating/age suitability:


Approximate length of episodes:

30-40 minutes

Curricular ties:

It would probably be a stretch, but this may work in some history class settings.

Similar recommended pods:


Podcast Librarian’s Review:

This pod is about the Cliven Bundy and his family’s 21 year-long struggle to claim federally-owned land as their own. Why? That’s where they wanted their cattle to graze. Considering themselves “sovereign citizens,” meaning that they recognize themselves as their own country separate from the laws and government of the U.S., the Bundy family and supporters engaged in a standoff with federal agents. I had seen a documentary (likely on Netflix) about this dispute and even after watching it, I still didn’t understand what the big deal was—why did the Bundy family care so much about their cattle grazing on that land that they would fight the law? This podcast did a great job of delving into the underlying issues, like a prophecy and connection to the LDS religion, Native American claims to the land, and many other factors that further complicate the issue. What stuck with me the most was an observation in one of the final episodes that this was a prime example of white privilege—if a person of color had committed all the crimes that the Bundy family did, then he likely would have been shot dead early on. Despite this, I found the reporting to be mostly balanced and fair, with both sides of the argument represented well. Even though I wasn’t that interested in the subject before listening to the pod, I found it to be an easy and relatively quick binge that is certainly worth a listen. I haven’t listened to season 2 yet, but it covers other examples of anti-government terrorism.

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