The Badlands is an arid and desolate region of Missouri of the mid 21st century. Due to the terraforming efforts of the alien invaders known as the Votans, this region was turned into a vast desert with little vegetation, though there were meager forests to be found the further one traveled into the mountains. The Badlands was known for its frequent occurrences of Arkfall and nomadic raiders and scavengers would brave the tough environment in the hopes of laying claim to some valuable Votan tech. (Defiance: Pilot (Part 1))
In 2046, Joshua Nolan and Irisa Nyira were driving through the Badlands in their roller]] when they had an encounter with a group of Irathient nomads known as the Spirit Riders. The groups competed over who could salvage a recently downed piece of arkfall.
In 2048, General Rahm Tak of the Votanis Collective sought to take control of Defiance. He stated that all of the humans living in the town would be evicted outside of the stasis net, but admitted that most of them would die in the Badlands. (Defiance: My Name is Datak Tarr and I Have Come to Kill You)