This song started as one thing and became another. First it was a love song, but I didn’t like the clichés. At the time, I was watching the 1996 PBS documentary The West and some of the images of American settlers on the great plains lodged in my mind. The song became a story about that: moving west, failing, and moving again.
When I get to the Dakotas I will claim a spot our own I will cut the sod and stack it up into a little home I will wait for you my dear, on the wagon road As the wind begins to blow I will wake at dawn and hitch the horse to my brother's iron plow I will cast the corn into the trench behind the oaken boughs I will chase the birds away, and pray the rain will show As the wind begins to blow I will buy us books in winter time and read by candle light Daniel Webster and Mark Twain to learn our children right I will keep the fire high, when the shadows grow As the wind begins to blow Then grasshoppers grew and chewed our profits down to bits The price of grain sagged in the east, my back sagged in the west With your hand in mine you pressed me, how much further can we go? As the wind begins to blow. I will pack your china plate with straw in a fresh-cut cedar box We will ride the train rails running west till we spy the golden docks We will wait for our ship there, the edge of Francisco As the wind begins to blow