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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 Mountainbilly (not verified) on
These men are not mountain men. They are more like the character from"Into the Wild." Using an unproven rifle to hunt; making your camp 12 miles from permanent water;this show is full of mountain novices. The fellow from Carolina wouldn't last a week in the San Juan's of Colorado. This show is a joke.

Submitted by Frank Goodson (not verified) on
Yes piss poor editing. Mountain fairys I'd say" not Marty". I know Marty personally, he's the real deal and his trap line and life on the trap line in the winter is as real as it gets. Sure he uses mechanized equipment, but Marty is a survivor. The producers of this show cut and edit and make it how they see it ought to be and what they feel is appealing to the public. Marty's life on the trap line would break most of you "tough guys" out there that think you got what it takes to be alone in Alaskas remote wilderness in the dead of winter.

Submitted by Wolf (not verified) on
I've known Tom and Nancy Oar for decades - have visited them and they us and have shared many a campfire with. Tom and Nancy are real as it gets. They spent several years building their first log home by hand & chain saw in Yaak area. The money they make annually for whatever they need is primarily from the skins that they tan. In the past Tom had worked as a hunting guide for a local outfitter. They hunt a lot and eat what they harvest. Wood is their heat source. Tom traps professionally. He tans and eats his catch. He don't miss with the rifle. He built his own bow & arrow, shot a mountain lion with it and tanned its skin to make his bowcase/quiver. There's a whole lot more that's not being shown - take my word for it, Tom & Nancy are real. Producers seem to think that they know what you want to see and hear, huh? Marty seems real.

Submitted by Wolf (not verified) on
Oh yeah, forgot to mention - Tom & Nancy have a great respect for Griz - but are not fearful. Nor are they worry warts. At one time many moons back they had tried to get us to move to the Yaak - we do many of the same things they do - you know, dead animal parts lying around and all - and I felt that living there would make me bear bait and so declined. Be real nice if they would show you the truth of how these fine people live. That would hold your attention folx.

Submitted by Pinglis (not verified) on
I am interested in knowing if they sell their items on line or if they have a website I can go to. I am very interested in purchasing some of their handiwork I don't attend any mountain men gatherings. Thanks for any help

Submitted by lisa spory (not verified) on
Marty is my husbands hero! He would love to spend his vacation with him to experience the challenges of self reliance.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I spent years in Colorado, the Carolina's, and Canada; the San Juan's are a joke....but whatever makes you feel me your 500 acres of land and your idea of living off the land.

Submitted by Mountainbilly (not verified) on
You must be talking about Puerto Rico when you talk about the San Juan's. I lived in the Arctic and Wyoming Wind River Range. The San Juan's of SW Colorado are as rough as mountains get. 14k mountains, avalanche, lions, bears, and monsoon storms that will blow you right off a ridge. Just because you camped in a FS campground doesn't make you qualified to talk about the wilderness.IMHO

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
You're very insecure about a weak area of Colorado. But, given your keyboard muscles, I assume you live in the San Juan's as these guys live in their respective mountain areas, so we can commend you for your expertise.

Submitted by Mountainbilly (not verified) on
If you are so sure the San Juan's of Colorado are so weak then do tell what KOA you stayed at. The Genadiers, Needles, and Vestal Basin are some of the most rugged mountains I have seen in this great state. Not putting down Summit County but having Denver next door eliminates the chance of "getting away." There may only be 5 fourteeners in the range but there are hundreds of thirteeners that are much more technical. There are no roads just canyons and peaks.


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