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Mountain Men: Did History Channel cameraman steal Marty's gun?

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

A blatant production error in this week's episode of the History Channel's Mountain Men demonstrates why "reality television" is still "television," after all.

Benjamin Franklin said, in a 1789 letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, "'In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes;" seems that this is true even for a mountain man.

One thing—maybe the only thing—that makes it truly impossible for one to live completely “off the grid” is the fact that, even when we “own” our property, the government continues to get its piece, year after year, via property taxes. If we don’t pay those taxes, the government will eventually step in and take that property we “own.” Thus, even mountain men who live off the land have to come up with some way to bring in at least enough cash to pay those annual property taxes.

Eustace Conway went down to his mailbox on the latest episode of the History Channel’s Mountain Men to find a letter threatening to take his property if he doesn’t pay his taxes.

“What pisses me off,” Eustace says, “is crazy people focusing on foolish things like taking my land away that have no idea that the land is the most important, sacred thing in my life, period. The people that are suing me, I never even met the people, and yet they’re taking my land away? B*******.” But, Eustace isn’t taking the lien against his property passively. “What this land means to me is life. It’s about existence. This is home. I’m ready to die to take care of this mountain.”

Trapper Marty Meierotto is trapping his way through the episode, although he comes up empty-handed on the trip. If the careful viewer was paying attention, he saw a production error in the footage, as well. As Marty checked the first trap, he saw that it was empty. Clearly, he has a gun strapped to his back. As he rides up to his next trap—which, according to the voice-over, took him five minutes to reach after leaving the first trap—he notes that he sees wolf tracks around the empty trap. But, now, the gun is gone. “Marty’s been surrounded by a pack of wolves while crossing a frozen lake before,” the voice-over says. “He had to fire a shot with his rifle just to escape. This time, he’s unarmed.”

Well, if the wolves come along, maybe the cameraman will give him his gun back.

This is why “reality television” is, in fact, often more “television” than “reality.”

Will Eustace be able to cut enough firewood to sell for tax money? And, will Marty be consumed by a pack of wolves while he walks through the woods (his snowmobile broke down, as well, during the “he’s unarmed” scene), or will the cameraman have mercy and let him have his gun back to keep the pack away (and perhaps give him a ride on his own snowmobile so that he doesn’t have to walk 10 miles in the dark)?

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Will Eustace keep his land in Season Two?

Image: Wikimedia Commons


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Watching the episode where Marty made a trip via snowmobile pulling a sled to get two 5 gallons buckets of river water a mile away, the obvious question arose "why not melt snow?" It's Alaska in winter, there's two feet of snow on the ground, and in the below zero weather, he's got a constant fire going in his woodstove. Surely, this trip for water was just for the show.

Submitted by Frank Goodson (not verified) on
Ok, it's obvious that anonymous person has no clue as to how much snow Marty would have to melt to equal 10 gal of water not to mention the time it will take. anonymous person has not considered the fact that snow in temps well below zero has very low moisture content. So anonymous person, maybe your snow melting may be better suited for when you just want a little cup of latte.

Submitted by MsDachshund (not verified) on
Ok, I thought the same thing as anonymous person said. I didn't realize that about melting snow. Thanks for the info Frank.

Submitted by Anonymous2 (not verified) on
Snow is 10:1 usually, it's how we collect water on the line in Canada, perhaps american snow is different?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Why is Eustace not paying his taxes, It's not like he is not making any money. Look up Turtle Island Preserve and see all the camps he has and what he charges. $95 for a spoon carving class. The show makes it seem like he has no income except for cutting down trees and selling it for firewood.

Submitted by sue (not verified) on
History portrayed Eustace as making his own roof shingles and using a hammer and nails to put them on. There was a young man in the scene that was shown carrying a white box of Collated air gun roofing nails. My husband is a builder and is able to spot that brand and box a mile away. He now thinks the show is full of it and does not accurately portray these men. He no longer wants to watch the show. Why would the producer allow this scene in the episode? Then again, I bet a tv producer proboly doesn't know what a coil pack of air gun nails look like. In the same episode, Marty was portrayed as having no gun and having to walk 10 miles back to his cabin, when we all know that a camera man is there and he had a gun at the first trap. Crappy producing!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I live and work on the preserve with Eustace. We did 95% of that roof with a nail gun. The show is chock full of absolute horse puckey! They used several months of footage to completely fabricate the gun misfiring story, among lots of other lies. The show is such a sham, and frankly... makes all three mountain men look like idiots. Mostly, when you have people making a show, with no context for actual living, or being out of doors... that's what you get... a lame reality show. ps. Eustace would NEVER - in a million years let anyone touch his gun. that whole story was completely made up. Its absolutely incredible what they can do with editing. What a let down! We hope people don;t lose faith in the preserve and our real mission. We have open houses twice a year so you can see the REAL reality for yourself.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I've worked with Eustace for 15 years. He's one of the most amazing teachers you could meet. Most people just can't get over themselves long enough to see he's human like all of us. I built the barn with other, among other buildings, the huge barn, I split the shingles, we never even saw a nail gun. And if we did who cares. Quit watching tv and sitting around whining like a bunch of babies. Do something worthwhile and get off your sorry ass. Life is short.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
DONT YOU THINK EUSTACE WOULD HAVE SAY IN WHAT WAS SHOWN ABOUT HIS LIFE AND THE PRESERVE,...... Your an idiot an complete fool... I am a close associate to the production crew and worked with both... Eustace had all say in what was shown and edited.. You on the other hand have not been priveledged to this info, why is everyone a bunch of haters. WHY CANT EVERYONE APPRECIATE someone trying to live on the land, why is it that everyone HAS TO BE A FAKE IF YOU LIVE AND WORK WITH EUSTACE THEN why hasnt eustace protested the show?? BECAUSE ITS HELPING HIM SAVE THE PRESERVE!!!!


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