Mountain Men raises authenticity questions with each new show

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

Comments

Submitted by jamesFFFF (not verified) on
What i found was staged was when Tom went missing and Tim had to go looking for him, someone was filming Tim while he answered the phone, plus if they were in real danger the camera man with Tom would call them, dont tell me they dont have SAT phones.....

Submitted by GaryvN (not verified) on
I live in Boone, near where Eustace has his preserve. A couple of weeks ago it was reported that it has been shut down by the town. According to the report there had been new buildings built that were not inspected by the state. Nothing else has been reported but when it is I'll post it.

Submitted by boone resident (not verified) on
Today a story came out in the paper that Eustace has been arrested for second-degree trespassing. He was released after promising to appear on his court date.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Marty's stranded just who is filming him while he's walking through bush.As for Tom I hunted out of Yak in the Yak valley out of Creston BC and fished the Kootenay river hunting ducks gimme a break that stupid dog cannot find the boat.As for that other bush hippie Eustas he missed his shot and called it a miss fire while he blamed the kid .And who lets someone else sight in their rifle.And anyone with half a brain knows a dog that is poorly trained will chase a bear and bring it back to you. I grew up in the bush I've eaten bear meat deer moose and "beaver"and if Tom and his wife have to live on that shit for the winter I feel sorry for them Beaver taste like shit .Eustas is a dumb idiot who does not have a clueabout the woods what a joke might fool the city slickers but stay away from the mountain boys lol.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Marty's stranded just who is filming him while he's walking through bush.As for Tom I hunted out of Yak in the Yak valley out of Creston BC and fished the Kootenay river hunting ducks gimme a break that stupid dog cannot find the boat.As for that other bush hippie Eustas he missed his shot and called it a miss fire while he blamed the kid .And who lets someone else sight in their rifle.And anyone with half a brain knows a dog that is poorly trained will chase a bear and bring it back to you. I grew up in the bush I've eaten bear meat deer moose and "beaver"and if Tom and his wife have to live on that shit for the winter I feel sorry for them Beaver tastes like shit .Eustas is a dumb idiot who does not have a clueabout the woods what a joke might fool the city slickers but stay away from the mountain boys lol.

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