Unpromising Villages or неперспективные деревни was a term used by the Soviet Union for rural communities that were considered "ill-suited" for the planned economy. Residents of these communities were forced by the government to leave their homes and move to urban areas or work camps. Some people, most notably the elderly and the disabled, were often left behind. While many people chose to leave their underpopulated communities, some opted to stay. These people lived out the rest of their days in solitude in their abandoned villages.
The vignettes in Cattle Call were inspired by a series of first-person accounts of the Dust Bowl recorded by the Library of Congress. However, the voices themselves are from the devastated rural communities, the towns and family homes, destroyed and abandoned in the Dust Bowl's aftermath.