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Jericho Nitpicks

Jericho Mistakes or complaints

By Kehvan

As for specific scientific/geographic errors, those were mostly in the early episodes, where they were setting up the whole premise for the story. The only one I can think of not covered below is the town of Rogue River. For starters, like Jericho, it doesn't exist in Kansas. In fact, it only exists as a river in the states of Oregon and Michigan. Geographically speaking, the Oregon Rogue River flows west from the Cascades to the Pacific Ocean down near Klamath Falls and Medford, so there's no way it could cross both the Cascades and Rockies (and Wasatch, if it flowed through Utah) to get to Kansas. The Michigan river starts north of Grand Rapids and merges with another river just east of Grand Rapids. Should that river try for Kansas, it'd have to do an even more impossible feat than Oregon’s version: It’d have to cross the Mississippi River and remain intact!

As for where this town might exist, I’ve not pinpointed that. There was a road sign on a two-lane highway that indicated Rogue River was about 100 miles away, Salina about 200 miles away, and Topeka about 300. This would be somewhat valid to see along I-70 heading east near Goodland, which is close to where Jericho is supposed to be, but does not match up with any existing road infrastructure that would be two-lane.

However, based on the map shown in Episode 3, Jericho is located in west-central Kansas, not a little ways northeast of Goodland as was established in Episode 2. The map appears to be a large blowup of a Delorme map (one of those map books that split a state into many pieces, and show incredible detail for each region), and the road, KS96 in this case, is shown to run mostly horizontal across the map, with a 45° angle off to the west. This exact road alignment happens west of Ness City. In fact, when I looked at Ness City in the Delorme book, it was an exact replica of the map they had on the wall, except that Ness City was named Jericho.

I’ve provided some images to support this:
Jericho map
-- Capture from the show, enlarged and sharpened to enhance detail a bit

Ness City map
-- Scan of the Ness City region from the Delorme map

Kansas map
-- Scan of part of Kansas, highlighting Goodland, Wichita, Ness City, and the Smoky Hills river. The numbers on the image represent the pages where the detailed maps can be found.

Someone else says:
Actually you can only kind of see the Rockies from Limon, CO, if I remember correctly (I keep thinking you can’t see them from there but it’s been several years since I went to Denver and I can’t remember for sure (plus the weather on the day you are trying to see them would matter greatly)).

Hmm. It’s been awhile since I’ve been through Limon, and then I was heading east, not west. But since Limon is only 85 miles from Denver, I thought the mountains would’ve been visible. But now that you mention it, probably not. You’d have to be closer still to Denver to have the Rockies that visible and that tall. I made another capture of the initial bombing of Denver showing how close the Rockies are to the town of Jericho. You’re just not going to see something like that in Kansas. Probably much closer to the towns of Keensburg or Roggen (I-76), Strasburg or Byers (I-70) or Kiowa (CO96) -- all in Colorado, and within about 30 to 50 miles (driving) or up to 40 miles (direct) from Denver.

Jericho mountains
-- Initial bombing of Denver, showing Jericho in relation to the Rockies

What bugs me is that if Stephen King can recreate Maine for his uses so adequately, to the point where people can actually pinpoint the locations of his fictional towns, then they should be able to do the same with this, considering it’s just a handful of small towns they have to create.

Someone else complained about how “country folk” are portrayed on the show:
Uh - having grown up as “country folk” and having many relatives who are still such folk - I can tell you that of the dozens of rural households that I know:

1. Not one of them has a short-wave radio. What possible use would make it more likely that a rural person would have a short wave radio than an urban person?

2. They all use the Internet (most of them on high-speed DSL or cable/satellite Internet) - in fact agribusiness was the first non-Silicon Valley-type industry in the U.S. to go 100% Internet based for transactions.

3. All of them have Satellite TV or digital cable with DVRs. Short wave radios are used by suburban hobbyists.

I agree for the most part:

1) I know there’s a tall antenna just a block or two from me, but I don’t know if that’s just for reception purposes or if there’s a HAM radio operator living there. It’s the only such tower (other than commercial towers) in this area, and it’s not run by the city of La Crosse, the township, or the county. There are antennas on the water tower, but I believe those are for city and county governmental purposes (police, sheriff, fire, ambulance, road crews).

2) Everybody in town, with the possible exception of those living in the retirement home, know what the Internet is. A few have dialup. Most have broadband (cable or DSL). We’re 25mi from the biggest population center and the town claims a population of only 1300 people. Yet we’re connected to the ’net, and at a pretty decent clip at that (I have a 6MB downlink/620K uplink connection myself).

3) Cable is still tops around here (mainly for convenience, local-ish news, and the two local community events calendar channels), but I’d say DirecTV and DishNetwork make up about 40% or so of the households in town. I don’t recall seeing a C-Band dish anywhere. I think I’ve seen one aerial TV antenna in town, but I could be wrong about that (unless that tower mentioned in #1 is such a thing, then it’d be two antennas).

The last time I saw anything similar to a shortwave rig was a 50ft antenna mast installed out in the country to the north of Pendleton OR, and if I’m not mistaken, it was used for TV reception and occasional CB radio chit-chat. Small-town does not mean 19th Century, small-minded, or slow. It just means quiet and peaceful for the most part.

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Updated 3/30/07  

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