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Nomadland's Empire is a real place in northern Nevada desert

EMPIRE, Nev. — The town that actress Frances McDormand’s character sets out from in the award-winning film “Nomadland,” is a real place on the edge of northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The town of Empire is about 90 miles north of Reno. Like the place McDormand’s “Fern” flees when it shuts down, the boom-and-bust gypsum mining town that once was home to about 800 people now has fewer than 100. 

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