This thesis explores the experiences of Dust Bowl migrants who left the poverty-stricken American Southwest to find work in Kern County, CA, during the Great Depression. After providing a brief background of the history of labor in California, the study turns to the lack of work and hostile atmosphere migrants encountered in Kern County. At this point the paper seeks to ascertain the methods that Dust Bowl migrants employed to combat increasing poverty and social exclusion. In order to obtain an accurate view of Okie life during the depression this paper relies heavily on oral histories, government documents/recordings, and periodicals created by outsiders, as well as the Okies themselves. The body of the study focuses largely on the employment opportunities created by World War II and how it worked as the catalyst for the economic change experienced by Okies. Although many were directly involved in the war effort by working for defense industries, others enjoyed financial improvement in the agricultural sector where wages rose due to a sudden lack of workers. During the war Okies were recognized for their vital contribution to the war effort, and government officials often urged other to emulate their work-ethic. However, the eventual Allied triumph left many in California concerned that Okies might recede back into poverty due to lack of work. Turning to the post-war era, this piece argues that during the war Okies learned new skills or moved through the ranks of agricultural employment, thus they were prepared for the end of wartime production. Furthermore, during this time Okie culture was burgeoning in Kern County, especially in regards to Country music and Protestantism. By the 1950s, the aspects of Okie culture that had helped them survive the depression, was now Kern County culture as well, and in the next two decades this phenomenon was further solidified. The epilogue focuses largely on Okie testimonials and further newspaper articles to exemplify the degree to which Okie culture came to dominant Kern County during the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s. As migrants from the Dust Bowl era grew older their experiences were increasingly recorded for historical preservation, which is also explored in the conclusion. After years of being referred to as "Okies" in a derisive manner, migrants appropriated the term during this period and ever since have utilized it as a way to express their pride at having earned everything they gained over the years.