Let me preface this by saying I am a huge fan of the High Desert, for a number of reasons:
Location central to Vegas, Mountains, Beaches, Skiing, Laughlin, River, and local attractions.
If you want a rental, Milpas Highlands is isolated and you risk vandalism or someone cooking meth in your house...more than in a house in the middle of town.
Real Estate almost always follows the maxim "Location, location, location" so you really need to think about what criteria are important to you in an investment.
It is likely to be at least five years before the Victor Valley recovers, and as our federal and state governments are following the same policies that extended the Great Depression it may take longer. One of the leading indicators of recovery in the real estate sector is job growth, and I've been watching an exodus of businesses and employers from the area beginning in 2006. Dr. Pepper/Snapple is still looking to open in the near future, and the logistics base is continually growing, but I am not certain how much of that is funded by government grant money that may be in jeopardy.
There are many properties that are available for less than building costs. That is, you couldn't build them for the price of purchase. A plain house costs $60/sf to build, a newer house with upgrades may cost $120/sf to build, not including land. A permit to build a 2000sf house, with water meter, costs about $30-35,000 in all the local jurisdictions. So in one way, you could effectively get a 'free' house, if you buy a $30,000 parcel with a 2000sf house--you've only paid for the parcel and the permit, yet the house is already there if you pay $60K.
If you are looking to invest for less than 5 years, there's not much margin for flipping, and the rental market is very competitive at the moment, as many people in the construction industry have left the area (my dad was a contractor/framer and I remember the migratory nature of construction) and the lack of employers in the area keeps the population down.
If you're looking for a place to live, and eventually sell, the Milpas Highlands are quiet, though out of the way, and that will effect the eventual resale value--especially as energy prices rise, and will rise further if "cap-and-trade" legislation is not scuttled.