Serenity Valley is a backwater by all modern definitions of the word. There is very little communication with the outside world, except for a single rail line that passes through the center of the Valley. Mail and travelers get on and off at the station at Ericstown.
The Valley is mostly grassy plain with some lightly forested areas. Toward the South Western edge the desert begins and lining the Northern border is a mountain range. There is very little water in the Valley, manifesting primarily as small temporary ponds after rain storms which are infrequent but brutal. The Valley is below sea level and historically the North has flooded in the Spring after particularly heavy winters.
The population of the Valley is primarily white settlers from the East. The 1862 Homestead Act unsuccessfully pushed for settlement and development of the Valley. Despite the failures of the Homestead Act, the white settlers that arrived far unnumbered the original Chinese inhabitants which make up the second largest group in the Valley.
The second largest minority is the descendents of freed slaves. Many of them fled bondage, but many others were emancipated during the Civil War. There is a significant black population in New Shanghai.
Indians of various tribes, particularly the Shoshone, Pueblo, and Ute. Many Navajo and Commanche were moved from their homelands to the Martis-Shohone Reservation.
There is a small minority of Eastern Europeans that tend to reside near the Santa Maria Mission under the protection of the Knights Humanitas.