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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
Go do your home work little boy, let the adults talk.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
"this would better serve the readers at large" Nope, only you and your ego.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Arguing over the simplest of things, my, my! Have you nothing better to do? People out of work, hungry, and not sure when things will get better. Try to spend your time and energy helping others and you will be blessed, while relieving stress, and being suprised at how good you will start to feel! Dont bother replying to me, I wont come back here again. Im saddened by the treatment of one human to another, or worse one christian to their brother or sister. May God Bless you all!!!

Submitted by Rory (not verified) on
"Northern one of you is older then 20"?!? Perhaps our disagreement stems from a misunderstanding since English is obviously a new language for you.

Submitted by Jerry T (not verified) on
Yeah i would not expect you to understand that the spell check on an android phone can be a a pain in the ass, then again, you are a pain in the ass, so maybe you would understand.

Submitted by Rory (not verified) on
Maybe you could try 'Hooked On Phonics' since I've heard it works well for slow learning children, then you wouldn't have to rely on spell check to know the difference between words like 'Northern" and phrases like 'None of you'. That wasn't even close to being a typo so finish the 12 pack you bought for lunch and refrain from posting anything else until you sober up a bit. You were wrong, I was right, and your name calling is only an admission of defeat. It would be much easier on what's left of your self esteem to simply say <i>"I'm sorry Rory, only a moron would use a gun barrel as a shovel"</i> so we could all move on.

Submitted by jerry thompson (not verified) on
Listen rory, I understand your mommy told you that your special, but its not the type of special you are thinking about. That little yellow bus you rode, was not for the important kids.

Submitted by Jerry T (not verified) on
Well i tell you what Rory, you go ahead and live by what google tells you. I have a weapon that was made in 1895, was used by the Germans in 2 world wars, it has seen its fair share of moisture and "acid", yet the barrel is still not rusted.

Submitted by Jay C. White Cloud (not verified) on
GVN, This thread is about the show, and as Rory stated, authenticity. How the characters behave is so fare from reality that it is funny, until you realize so many believe it.You don't like what is being written don't read it. Jerry T., You keep telling folks they are wrong, well let me tell you, (for the sake having Rory write a response that will once again have me falling out of my chair laughing my a_ _ off,) YOU ARE VERY WRONG! Perhaps you didn't read my response, (??? dated 25 July,) So I will restate it here for you again. 1. Timber Rattle Snakes (Cortalus h. atricaudatus and C. h. horridus) do not need to hide in leaves. That is not their base line ethology. They have evolved natural camo in such a way that they can be in plain sight and you, (especial YOU,) wouldn't every see them, and, oh, by the way I don't have to look these facts up on Google or anywhere else; I can pull them straight out of 40 years experiences working with them. 2. YOU DO NOT TOUCH GUN METAL, if you can avoid it at all! If you do, you wipe it down and you sure as hell don't use it to poke around leaves with it. Rory is right, I think you are a simpleton, especially if you truly have inherited a weapon from 1895 and treat it with such disrespect. It may have lasted this long, but in your hands it very well may be doomed unless you take better care of it. I doubt very much if you will take any of this to heart, but at least, I hope, your creditably has been labeled and other readers will disregard your advice.

Submitted by Jerry T (not verified) on
I do not believe a damn word you say. You and Rory both are trying to act like know it alls. All your googling means nothing. You know nothing of weapons, if you had known anything you would know I never said you don't clean weapons, i just said getting the barrel wet will not destroy it. I do not believe you are a wilderness expert as you claim. Please feel free to go tell a bunch of rifle hunters they should not go hunting because it might rain and the barrel of their rifle may get wet. See where it gets you. Again, my very old weapon has, I am sure, seen its fair share of being dropped in the mud, been through snow storms and rain storms. Far worse then "skin acid", yet it is still in very good condition. I think i will take the word of real weapons experts, not the word of a man who is very hard to believe You say you live off the grid, yet you have TV and Internet, hmmmmmm?


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