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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 Jay C. White Cloud (not verified) on
Let me state it again for you simpleton, I don’t need Google or any other web site, to have a interrelated and accurate dialogue on these subjects, I will leave the webs searches for you to do when you confirm the facts that I am sharing with the other readers of this thread. By they way, whether you believe me or not, gives me little or no concern at this point. Rory, NC Lawyer and I have tried to keep this light and informative, from the beginning, you have been nothing but contemptuous and arrogant. So you tell me again, who is really trying to act like a know it all? I don’t believe I, or anyone else ever made mention of anything about cleaning weapons or not getting them wet, or said you didn’t. We simple tried, obviously to no avail, to correct your assertion that it is suitable weapon etiquette to handle the bare mental of you weapon and go poking around in leave with it. You have continual resisted these facts, each time further demonstrating you ignorance. As for my back ground in experiential, wilderness and indigenous life skill education, well I guess having been raised by my elders to respect the ways of my ancestors, working as a park naturalist, guiding for 30 plus years and being the Wilderness Education Director at a Military Academy is all bull sh_t. in you view. So I guess I will keep hanging with my, how’d you put it? “bunch of rifle hunters.” In closing please reread, (if it doesn’t hurt to much,) this thread. At no time did I ever say I lived off grid, and even if I did, you moron, I could still have power to run a computer…you know the sun, solar energy or is that a little past your reach.

Submitted by Rory (not verified) on
You have proven to be unteachable. I bet your 3rd grade teacher was just as frustrated as I am when you walked into the classroom for the 4th year in a row.

Submitted by Jay C. White Cloud (not verified) on
Rory, once again, you have made following this thread, not only entertaining but enjoyable. Again I laugh till it hurts!!! Jerry T., you could abdicate your earlier comments, eat a little humble pie and I am sure all would be forgiven and forgotten.

Submitted by Rory (not verified) on
Any bets that his rifle is a Winchester <b>MODEL 1895</b> rather than a rifle built in 1895? He must have thought Walmart made a huge mistake pricing that one, LOL.

Submitted by Jerry T (not verified) on
Not surprised that you have resulted in these type of insults, seeing as how your IQ is obviously lower then your age. All you two idiots have done is try and act as if you know everything, when in fact you do not. I could sit here and point out all the flaws in both yours and "grizzly Adams" stories, but i do not wish to make you two morons look any dumber. I guarantee, if either one of you actually do shoot any weapons, that you touch the barrel all the time. Once again, i will point out that i never said you dont clean your weapon, i just said that touching it or letting it get wet will not harm. You two idiots just cant let it go, you have to try and win a battle you already lost. SO please feel free to continue with the extremely lame insults, all you have done is proven how stupid and immature you are.

Submitted by Rory (not verified) on
Learn the difference between "then" and "than" before you insult the intellect levels of others. This started with you stating that it was perfectly fine and standard practice to use a firearm as a gardening tool. You were wrong but being the blockhead that you are you just can't bring yourself to admit it. The general consensus here is that your knowledge of firearms is equal to that of an 8 year old Amish girl with Down's syndrome. Go away now and lick your wounds in the comfort of a nice warm bath with several electrical appliances perched precariously on the edge of the tub.

Submitted by Jay C. White Cloud (not verified) on
Jerry T., I will more than acknowledge that I have been insulting to you, but I do not believe anymore than you have been toward me. Perhaps that is a bit of a case of “tit for tat,” so be it. None of this changes the reality of any of the facts I have addressed on this thread about your comments. You continue, (and I am not trying to be insulting,) to demonstrate a level of stubbornness that is astonishing. Perhaps Rory has, “taken to much of the Mickey,” out on you, but really now, who started all of this. Your first endeavor was to try and assert a false hood about gun etiquette and rattlesnake behavior, and you did it impertinently. From my response you glean that I am trying to be a “know it all?” Once again I, nor anyone else, ever said you are not suppose to clean a weapon. We only spoke to proper weapon etiquette, a point you continue to resist, so why do you keep bring up that we said, “you do not clean a weapon,” we never said that, so please stop referencing a falsehood. In closing if you are not going to concede that excepted weapon etiquette is to: avoid touching the metal components of your weapon and you should never use the barrel of your weapon as a poking tool, than each time you respond to the contrary; what did you say? “All you have done is proven how stupid and immature you are,” would only apply to you. Also, by all means, please point out, “all the flaws,” in my stories? I will gladly respond, and I will keep the insults to the same level you do.

Submitted by Jerry T (not verified) on
You come up with that on your own, or did mommy help?

Submitted by Rory (not verified) on
She helped. She thinks you are an imbecile too.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
You must be a complete idiot. When I was a kid we stole a gun hid it in the hole where a tree had up rooted a few weeks later when we came back to get the gun it was extremely rusted. If you put your hands on a gun barrel ya better clean it or your finger prints and hand prints will rust onto the metal. That's why they make all those cleaning products.


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