In 1982, Van Weldon, a young salesman adept at buying rounds and selling tractors in Abilene bars, dropped out of business school and set out to dig up some money. In those days in West Texas, plowing corn rows grew a few dollars, but digging deeper often uncorked a black geyser. Weldon knew oil acquaintances who regularly vacationed in Las Vegas one weekend, then Santa Fe or Palm Springs the next. "Here I was, making $22,000 a year," he recalls, "and I was thinking, 'I'd like to... More >>>