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Mountain Men: Will Eustace keep his land in Season Two?

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

Mountain Men ended its first season last night and, true to form, it was ridiculous.

Season One of Mountain Men is over.

What a colossal waste of an opportunity for a great show.

My hopes were high from the very beginning for this show. It could have been a modern-day Alone in the Wilderness. Mountain Men could have actually taken three individuals living in various mountain areas, and shown viewers what it is like to live “off-the-grid” to varying extents. It could have presented viewers with real situations and real people. It could have even—gasp—offered viewers some knowledge that they could have walked away with after each 60-minute sitting, something that was real and perhaps even helpful to someone living in another situation, one not necessarily as extreme or drastic as the ones in which these three were said to reside.

Instead, producers of Mountain Men presented viewers with a campy farce each week, making its stars into presumable caricatures of themselves and insulting fans with gun switches; having Marty's gun disappear into thin air on more than one occasion; and, really, coming up with some of the most contrived, over-the-top, “mountain men” drama a roomful of never-owned-a-gun writers could dream up for the small screen.

Could Marty, Tom and Eustace be the “real deal?” They could be, but how would anyone watching this show know? According to the History Channel, great oudoorsman Eustace is unaware of how to use the word "misfire" appropriately (no, for the final time, it does NOT mean "failure to achieve desired results" in the presented situation)--is that the "real deal?" And, are viewers at fault if they laugh and point out this and many other production misfires--yes, failures to achieve desired results--throughout the show?

Of course they aren't; the producers are.

Reality Programming CAN Be Great

There are some excellent reality shows out there these days, featuring real people doing real things. Swamp People, also on the History Channel, comes to mind. For Alaska living, Flying Wild Alaska (Discovery Channel) is good, as is Alaska: The Last Frontier (Discovery Channel). Dual Survival (Discovery Channel) gives viewers some real knowledge for potential life-threatening situations. And, of course, the king of all things-most-of-us-could-never-do reality shows, Deadliest Catch (Discovery Channel), consistently gives people good reality television. Are any of these “production free,” with no off-camera manipulation of scenes or TV magic in editing? No, of course not. But, they are well-done shows, and they respect not only the stars, but the fans, as well, by striving to give viewers shows that, in the world of reality television, are realistic. 100% “real,” maybe not; but realistic, yes.

Mountain Men could have been one of those shows; it definitely is not.

Season Two of Mountain Men will bring back Marty, Tom and Eustace, and will add a new “mountain man” to the gang. Perhaps, given the not-so-impressive feedback the show has received overall, the producers for this History Channel show will strive to give viewers something better next go around. If not, it will still probably be one of the funniest hours on television, intentional or otherwise. Until then, let’s just hope that Eustace made it back to Turtle Island Preserve without being overtaken by that overwhelming brushfire he encountered on his way into Boone.

Stay tuned.

Image: Wikimedia Commons via Ken Thomas


Submitted by NC Lawyer (not verified) on
I thought that maybe he grew some kind of kale I hadn't seen before but all I could think of was why not just eat yard grass? If you're going to eat garnish, try some parsley?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I spent almost a year with Eustace, I was there when the tv producers came to pitch the show. The "lawsuit" is from a family suing because years back a little girl lost her eye in a sling/rock accident. It didn't happen on turtle island, but it did happen as she got off the bus to show up for camp . Eustace didn't do it, he wasn't present when it happened but due to it being caused in entry to his camp and by one of his staff..yes the family is seeking damages.. Also the man relies on gasoline, has at least 10 working trucks, two backhoes, tractors, chainsaws, and lives quite more comfertabley than tv would lead you to believe. I am ashamed to admit that I respected him so much, living there and then seeing it all get tv'd up...He's a sellout. That sawmill that turned off? It's powered by an old diesel fueled tractor engine, the hydro plant had nothing to do with the sawmill, TOTAL BS!!!

Submitted by CoyoteJoe (not verified) on
Thank You, We all can speculate but it is good to hear a first hand report from someone who knows.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
You are correct. The hydro generator was installed by Mirco Hydro Power and has a GPE (gross power estimate) of 2100 watts. A worm drive skilsaw uses about 1500 watts. You would have a hard time running a skilsaw and a hair dryer at the same time let alone a saw mill. Complete BS. Eustace is a con man selling an ideology that he only stands behind when it suits him. When it doesn't he sees no conflict. In the end it is all about the money and projecting the phoney facade of a concerned naturalist. Coincidentally this show will prove to be his downfall since all of his lies and deceptions will finally be exposed for all to see.

Submitted by Whocares (not verified) on
We have a cabin in WV for hunting and fishing and it is way back in the Mountains. We have no water or electricity so we did what we had to do. The cabin is wired for a generator and we added a bathroom with toilet, shower, sink and hot and cold running water which also runs to the kitchen sink. How did we do it you ask? I'm going to tell you even if you didn't We built a very heavy duty platform beside the new bathroom to support 2 - 320 gallon totes (please forgive my spelling). Next we ran new gutters from our metal roof and filtered the water through a 5 gallon bucket that has layers of gravel and sand. The water runs into the first holding tank and they both fill up at an equal level because of the way we have it plumbed. If we get too much rain the second one has an overflow. We added a shallow well pump and a LP hot water tank, plumbed it all up and it works just fine. We don't stay there enough to worry about using all the water, but you would be suprised how far you can stretch 640 gallons of water. We don't drink the water but we shower and wash dishes in it. I am going to get it tested some day. But the reason I am telling you this is because you made me think about the power issue. Let me see if can get this right. Watts equals volts times amps. Our shallow well pump is 5.4 amps. 110 times 5.4 is somewhere around 600 watts (I don't have my calculator). I borrowed my friends 800 watt inverter and took it and my trolling motor battery to the cabin. I figured we could run the pump that way so we wouldn't need to go ouside and start the generator just to flush the toilet at night. Well, it wouldn't work so maybe I will try it with a 1000 watt inverter. If you have any ideas (low cost of course) I would sure consider them. I enjoyed your comment and I am glad to see you are interest in this sort of thing.

Submitted by CoyoteJoe (not verified) on
Pumps are difficult to figure because the initial draw when they first start up can be two or three times the continuous running draw, but that is probably not your problem. The 800 watt inverter may be OK but that small battery is not supplying 800 watts to the inverter, the inverter can not put out more than the input. But back to the TV program. I have lived out in a tent or tipi over several winters in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico , a couple while working a trap line and a couple just loafing and escaping society. Had someone filmed my everyday activities I have no doubt there would have been some hours of interest to many people and some may have learned a few things they might not have known but by and large it would have been pretty boring just watching a guy go about his routine chores. Still, if they had filmed three months of day to day life I thing they could have easily found 18-20 hours that would have been of interest without resorting to deception and fakery. That's a full TV season of 45 minute episodes and that's just one guy in one place so there is certainly no need to fake it with three subjects living in such widely varied locals.

Oh, I completely agree; all <em>Alone in the Wilderness</em> filmed was the daily mundane chores of one man, and it was fascinating, just watching him eat pancakes ... I'm serious, too, not being flip ... of course, he was filming himself, and wasn't making a "reality show," such as it is today ... but all those little things that seem so boring in our daily lives might be fascinating to others ... seems like he even fashioned a spoon at some point ... I'm just sayin' ....

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
First you have to find out the amps the pump draws on start up which is generally much higher than the stated number. Joe is right. You also need to have sufficient battery storage to supply the motor the power to run continuously. Water pumps are power hogs. There are websites that will give you the calculations for sizing an inverter based on your needs and the battery capacity necessary. A simpler solution is to have a holding tank above your cabin, as long as you are not on the top of a hill so you can rely on gravity for pressure. It also has the added benefit of not having to filter the water if the aquifer is deep enough and free of sediment. It is basically and enclosed system. Taking water from your roof via gutters is a good solution but you will need a booster pump to provide the pressure you need. They make small booster pumps that are very compact and energy efficient but they can be rather pricey. The best solution in my opinion is a holding tank fed by a solar powered pump. They don't have the delivery rate of electrical pumps but they operate whenever the sun is shining constantly replenishing your holding tank. You can either put a float switch in the tank to turn the pump on and off or simply let it run with and overflow on your tank. A friend of mine does this and uses the overflow to fill his watering troughs for his livestock. There is an even cheaper way to fill your toilet. You can fill the holding tank by hand after every flush. Not elegant or efficient by definitely cost effective. Hope this helps.

Submitted by Whocares (not verified) on
Thanks guys....I am listening to your knowledge and advice. I never thought of the amps from the battery being to low. Now I understand you may not invert more watts than your battery puts out. I like the gravity idea. That much water should provide enough pressure to fill a toilet and the tanks are level with the floor of the bathroom. I think we could remove the toilet from the pump/pressure system manifolds and tap on to the main line going to the pump for the toilet. Good idea and I am sure it will work. All I need to do is convince my older John Wayne like brother to make the switch. Have a great day and thanks again.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Sir, I'd wager that your 5.4 amp pump draws 5.4 ramps while running. It probably takes almost twice that to get it started. You either need a much bigger inverter or a smaller pump (for filling the toilet or other brief and occasional demands). If I were you, I'd look into one of those pumps used in garden fish ponds or something like that - maybe one of those small drop-in submersibles would work too. They can be had with a 1/4 - 1/3 hp motor, while your shallow well pump is probably between 1hp and 1 1/2 hp. Good luck with everything, and though your post ended with a question, it was more informative than ten hours of Mountain Men.


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