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Mountain Men raises authenticity questions with each new show

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

As the History Channel reality series Mountain Men goes forward, more questions arise regarding reality vs. television.

The depiction of the History Channel’s Mountain Men becomes more suspect the more one searches for information on the reality television show.

Turtle Island Preserve was founded by Mountain Men cast member Eustace Conway. He does seem to be the “real deal” as far as loving and living on the land is concerned. Visitors to the Turtle Island Preserve website are greeted thusly:

“We live, teach, breathe and believe in nature's governing truths. We interact with the beautiful clarifying teachings of nature as we interpret it's story. We are more about doing it than talking about it. We invite you to visit us and experience all that is Turtle Island!"

There are many programs available on Turtle Island Preserve, from camping to spoon carving to tree-house building. According to the website, “The programs at Turtle Island Preserve are powerful and effective. We dig deep reaching profound connections within us, touching our ancestral roots. ‘SIMPLY REAL’, we touch the sources of life directly, unshielded from nature's truths. Intimate and personal, we experience relationship building with the foundational essence of our existence.”

But, these programs are pretty pricey. The spoon-carving class comes in at $95; tree-house building $250; 5-day adult camp $650; and if you want a meal on-site during an activity that does not include one already, you’ll plunk down another $15. Plus, if you see Turtle Island Preserve as suggested on the website—“The easiest way to see Turtle Island Preserve is to schedule your own personal Horse Drawn Carriage Ride with Eustace! This is great for those people who want to come to Turtle Island but just can't wait for the next Open House!”—you’ll pay $75 for one person, $65 for two or more people for an up-to-two-hour ride.

Making a Living on Mountain Men

There is nothing, of course, wrong with charging for services. Everyone has to make a living, after all—nothing wrong with making an honest living. But, Mountain Men recently insinuated that Conway’s ability to make actual cash was extremely limited, and depicted him frantically chopping firewood in an attempt to make enough money to pay his property taxes. Plus, the History Channel is not particularly open about others on the Turtle Island Property with Conway. “Interns come to Eustace to learn the old ways of living with nature in a self-sustaining society,” says Conway’s bio on the History Channel website, with no reference to the money-making programs available. And, on the show itself, statements are made such as the one last night, “Eustace calls his land ‘Turtle Island.’ The 1,000-acre plot requires a great deal of upkeep. So, he trades room and board for maintaining it.” One can assume that this refers to the internships on the property, since Justin, featured on the program, is listed as an intern by the History Channel. But, The fact that they have these other money-making programs in place is avoided in discussions about the upkeep of the property, and statements such as this one insinuate to the viewer that all activities on the property are not money-making but bartered as a way for Turtle Island Preserve to continue to function.

It is possible, of course, that not a lot of people are signing up for the classes on Turtle Island Preserve, and that there isn’t a lot of income from the programs offered. But, if that is the case, why not be upfront and address it? But, as one Huliq reader commented recently:

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.

The longer this show goes on, the more staged it appears—not a good sign for the longevity of Mountain Men.

Oh, and by the way: Last night, Eustace kept saying his gun "misfired." Clearly, it did not. When a gun "misfires," there is no discharge; "misfiring" does not mean that a gun's sights are off, which is the way he appeared to be using it. Makes one wonder, in fact, whether or not Eustace Conway is the "real deal" after all.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Will Eustace keep his land in Season Two?
Image: Wikimedia Commons


Submitted by Jerry T (not verified) on
Rory you are so wrong. Most Gun Owners wont touch the barrel? Do you really think anyone would believe that?

Submitted by NC Lawyer (not verified) on
If you do and you hold the metal parts in your hand, you are ruining your gun. But I think you probably don't own one or someone along to way would have told you this. I won't let anyone touch the barrels on my rifles. A quick trip to Google would save you from looking ignorant.

Submitted by Jerry T (not verified) on
And once again you have shown you stupidity. Not once during my military training did the the weapons instructor ever tell us that touching the barrel will ruin your weapon. IDIOT!!!!!!!!

Submitted by Rory (not verified) on
Skin acids do indeed deteriorate gun metal. <b>GOOGLE IT YOU SIMPLE MINDED BUFFOON!</B> You are obviously a product of 'Don't ask, don't tell'.

Submitted by Jerry T (not verified) on
I can not believe how stupid you are to think that "skin Acid" will erode the barrel. it would take hundreds of years of soaking a barrel in water to erode it, yet you some how think that touching it with your hand is far worse. No wonder no one on here has come to your defense, they think you are as stupid as i do.

Submitted by Rory (not verified) on
Can you not work a search engine?!? <i><b>"Wipe down the rest of your gun with a luster cloth. This is a flannel cloth that comes pretreated with a silicon lubricant. It will remove any remaining debris, including acid from fingerprints, and add shine."</i></b> ht<i></i>tp<i></i>:/<i></i>/<i></i>w<i></i>ww.<i></i>wikihow.<i></i>com<i></i>/Clean-a-Gun <i><b>"protect against moisture and fingerprint acids that can cause corrosion. Blued guns do need a little more care than stainless steel ..."</i></b> ww<i></i>w.c<i></i>alguns<i></i>.n<i></i>et Go decorate coloring books with children now you simpleton.

Submitted by GVN (not verified) on
You two are very sad individuals. Are you trying to see who's weiner is bigger? My goodness, stay on topic for crying out loud. If you want to stick your lower lip out and try the "I'm better than you are" routine find a freaking playground for crying out loud. Can you two please get a life?

Submitted by Rory (not verified) on
So you can eat my azs. The topic is one of authenticity, and that leads to the question of why someone supposedly skilled in hunting would use a gun barrel to rake leaves. Anything else or will you be leaving us now to nap in the garage with the car running?

Submitted by Rory (not verified) on
Put a sock in it and go play in traffic as we adults try in vain to educate this sock puppet

Submitted by Jay C. White Cloud (not verified) on
Wait...Wait...Rory play nice now,...WAIT...catching breath, laughing to hard...O.K. Rory play nice now, she probably is just frustrated with our ramblings...hay where'd my socks go?


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