Skip to comments.GOLD RUSH: ALASKA [episodes 1-3]
Posted on 12/18/2010 6:43:50 AM PST by matt1234
GOLD RUSH: ALASKA, follows six men who risk everything in the face of an economic meltdown their families, their dignity, and in some cases, their lives to strike it rich mining for gold in the wilds of Alaska. Inspired by his father Jack Hoffman, Todd Hoffman of Sandy, Oregon, leads a group of greenhorn miners to forge a new frontier and save their families from dire straits. While leasing a gold claim in Alaska, Todd and his company of mining rookies face the grandeur of Alaska as well as its hardships, including an impending winter that will halt operations and the opportunity to strike gold. In an effort to keep the operation running, the team takes fate into their own hands with a make or break venture that will change their lives forever.
After watching the steady decline of his aviation business in Oregon due to the stalled economy, Todd searched for new opportunities. With the price of gold on the rise, he came up with a plan to mine for the mineral in southeast Alaska, where there's an estimated $250 billion worth of gold. The mystique of Alaska draws Todd to the Porcupine Creek claim in southeastern Alaska where his father Jack mined for three seasons in the 1980s before he nearly went bankrupt. But the rate of gold discoveries in Alaska over the past two decades has increased exponentially and almost 200 million ounces of gold have been identified for potential recovery.
Todd and Jack look to their community in Oregon for a team of men to work the mines alongside them, knowing dire economic straits have hit those around them hardest. They have no financial means to pay them until or unless they find gold. It's a risk, but with high unemployment in Oregon, there's no shortage of interest. The assembled team includes: rookie Jimmy Dorsey, mechanical genius James Harness, foreman Greg Remsburg, and safety officer Jim Thurber. All four men have fallen hard. Sheet-metal worker Thurber is about to lose his house. Realtor Jimmy Dorsey is so broke he lives with his mother-in-law. Mechanic James Harness has destroyed his back in a car wreck and needs money for surgery. Greg Remsburg's last construction job was a year ago.
The mine at Porcupine Creek is located in the heart of one of the last great wildernesses, where weather conditions can change in an instant. The claim is surrounded by the largest bald eagle population on earth, and a nearby river is the site of a year-round salmon run. Grizzly bears and moose sightings happen daily, and the team must be prepared for some seriously close encounters. Armed with the hope and ferocity to rekindle the original American Dream, GOLD RUSH: ALASKA shines a spotlight on this group of enthusiasts. In essence, these are the new "'49ers," going back to the roots this country was founded on: hard labor, blood, sweat and tears. The men put it all on the line in the biggest gamble of their lives, and the hunt is on to strike it rich or go bust.
Here are my observations:
My opinion of the show.....it sucks! Just like ‘Ax-Men’.
Having done both these jobs in the past, I can tell you that this is all phoney boloney scripted for TV tripe.
Just my opinion.
I have not done either of these jobs, but I agree. OH! The bridge is creaking when we drive over it! OH! When they tried to cross the river with ATV’s I changed channels and never went back. Drama Queens.
I have not seen Ax-Men. I'm sure some of Gold Rush: Alaska is scripted...how much I do not know. Nevertheless, I find it entertaining. I takes me back to reading Jack London and stories about the Klondike Gold Rush. I always enjoyed those stories.
Sad to say, but in the history of prospecting, very, very few prospectors have ever made big bucks. The people who do so are the mining companies, and the people who sell supplies to miners.
Most prospectors after a hard day’s work end up with just enough gold to scrape by. Typically they earn less than minimum wage.
Plus the whole business is full of scammers, con men, rip offs, thieves, and bureaucrats who want to horn in. Any field or mine that is sold has probably been salted.
And every sucker will swear to their dying breath that the mother lode (increasing concentration at depth) exists. It does not. This is known to every serious geologist.
Hope to see more of the 90yo that lives across the creek. Did I hear correctly that he makes $20k+/day from his contraption?
It was a show that could have been done in 1 episode and probably would have been the most watched. They instead decided to make every scene 20 times longer than needed with the annoying “run the tense strings soundtrack” music making you think someone is about to die. If course, if anyone died, the show would never have happened.
Matt, it looked to be a S&W Model 500. I own one for my visits up to my place in Alaska, for the same reason. Definately a handful of gun.
The show exposed this fact about the Klondike gold rush. The show includes a little bit of history and science, presumably because it's on the Discovery Channel. If my understanding is correct, modern mining techniques allow gold miners to revisit previously mined areas and extract gold that was overlooked/unextractable using the older techniques.
Yeah, he did say something like that. But does that assume he's already found a vein?
I agree that the neighbor prospector is an interesting addition.
Saw several of these back to back last night. I was laughing my ass off the whole time.
The bear episode? What a joke going jihad on a black bear that crossed the perimeter of their camp.
The idiot Realtor doesn’t know his head from the hole he’s digging.
I love that they have only 3 months to dig and they blow the first 1/3 “setting up camp”.
All that said, here’s one for the folks who have actually mined Alaskan gold. Since the gold deposits are from erosion of the surrounding mountains, would it be possible to take a lightweight, small dredge up into the hills and mine out the higher elevation waterfall pools using a wetsuit and snorkeling gear? Seems like those areas might not have been mined in the early years when the technology wasn’t available.
The realtor (Dorsey) reminds me of the type that every kid wants to johnny-pile while playing pick-up football. I wonder if he gets extra pay/perks from Discovery for being the show’s whipping boy.
The Soup made a lot of fun regarding their constant search for the “Glory Hole”.
Yes, but there is a fierce law of diminishing returns.
To put this into perspective, the quality of platinum ore is now so low that greater concentration of platinum molecules is found in roadside dust from automobile catalytic converters.
“Typical gold ore grades in open-pit mines are 15 mg/kg (15 ppm); ore grades in underground or hard rock mines are usually at least 3 mg/kg (3 ppm). Because ore grades of 30 mg/kg (30 ppm) are usually needed before gold is visible to the naked eye, in most gold mines the gold is invisible.”
Do NOT google that.
Check out the chart at the link below for gold value/prices for the past 210 years.
Here's my observation: The cable channels each can find 24 hours worth of programming in Alaska. I will tune in to the Air Alaska show or whatever it's called, as well.
Sounds like you are trying to prevent years of therapy for everyone. :-)
The #1 thing to remember: Reality television isn’t. I know this for a fact, at least for one show, and I suspect it for all of them.
The thing that makes me laugh is the fact that no one posted the obvious: That they are mining Discovery Channel for gold. Does everyone think that the camneras are just there documenting this “great adventure”? Whether they actually find gold (and I have feeling they’ll hit a “planted” pocket of gold in some dramatic fashion right before they starve and die the night before the first snow falls and they can’t work again until next season), is immaterial, this is fiction....fantasy.
I thought it was funny when they had to be at the port by 3 pm or they would have to wait another week before they could ship their heavy equipment. If it was that important why not leave a day earlier to be on the safe side? The bear drama was a riot. They saw a bear in camp and decided they had to kill a bear, any bear. My wife said they needed to watch Sarah Palin’s show on how to camp in bear territory. That being said I still enjoy watching the show.
One more thing: this show is proof that the MSM thinks we are idiots.
All that said, I am a huge fan of placer gold mining. I wish they’d play “real” educational documentaries on that. Now THAT I’d watch.
Yes, I get your point. It shows me that you can always sell a dream, even in a bad economy, perhaps especially in a bad economy.
We love the show. My fiancee’ has a mining company and develops mining equipment. Too bad those guys didn’t contact him before setting out. He has a machine that would find that glory hole in about 3 minutes. He could put an X on the spot and they would be bringing the nuggets up in an hour.
That .50 cal was a Smith and Wesson.
I enjoy the show too. Sounds like your fiancee should take a trip to Alaska next year. These guys are from about 20 miles away from me and I love the old guy w/the Don’t tread on me hat.
“...theyll hit a planted pocket of gold...”
You nailed it!
One of the ‘miners’ claimed they “only had one chain on the job”.
Idiots, they are.
The star of the show is the 90 year old guy that looks like he’s in his early 70’s. His operation is the one History Channel should be following.
I get this feeling that Discovery Channel is going to find as many branched off reality shows it can find and use it while the Alaska hype is hopping.
Since I happen to live just past Wasilla here is my suggestions.
Ditchdivers of Alaska, true life stories of those that dare the first snows of the season and were too lazy to equip their cars with studded tires, or have just recently moved to Alaska and think they can drive from Wasilla to Anchorage with tire chains at 25 mph. And the real life stories of the many different recovery specialists, from multiple car impacts to windblown campers and tractor trailers.
Combat in Alaska!, a reality show of the people who fish combat fashion.
Alaska Homes, a show portraying the many ways industious Alaskans build their homes, from stacking shipping containers to walls made from wooden pallets.
Honestly there is a lot of ways to find gold, jade and such in Alaska and I may try my hand at it one of these summers.
I like your suggestions. How about "Drunk in Alaska"? Is there any potential there? :)
I’ve got another suggestion for reality shows in Alaska. “welfare scammers from Oregon, Washington and California hit the jackpot”!. THere is a well greased pattern I see all the time where these parasites get every dime of “aid” within a few months of arriving in Alaska. And then after one year of residency they get the permafund give away so they can buy new televisions and liquor instead of food and clothing for their children. Call my cynical but thats the way I see it. And it is not just confined to these states or just US citizens.
How about PFD madness?
You get a large family, each gets a figure of lets say $1200 EACH, and what each kid and adult does with it, about how Walmart practically floods the isles with LCD TVs a week before the checks come out, or how some families actually use it instead of a paycheck, they just put it all in the bank from the whole family and live off it for most of the year.
I’m not against the PFD, and to be honest I would rather they cash it out and just give us a lump sum, I think somebody came up with a figure that it would be about $35,000 per person, one shot deal, and its done with.
What got me was the lack of organization. They wait until the big rig is at the bridge BEFORE they find out if the bridge can take the load? That kind of operation, even on a small scale, calls for a front man to check things out. As one poster mentioned, cutting things so fine when getting to the dock area was either incompetence or scripted tension. The other poster who said that it is Discovery Channel being mined for the gold is also Spot On. Multi-DVD sets with royalties coming out soon.
I have not been to Alaska but my fiancee’ lived in Wasilla for awhile and he has been all over. He consults with mines up thre in the Yukon surveying the gold reserves on their claims. In fact next summer he and a friend are going up to work the friend’s claim for a month or so. He told me last night he thinks these guys would have been better served to set up a sluice box process. It would not move as many yards of dirt a day but its easy to set up and they would have been mining right off the bat and getting at least a couple of ounces of gold a day. At $1,400 per oz it adds up fast.
My guess is these guys will make more money from the reality show than the gold they mine. I’m glad to see average people who are out of work making some money any way they can.
Bingo, you have a winner. That would be great. I think the lower 48 would be amazed at what happens up here that week in October every year. I thought of another one too. How about Memorial Day Madness and the exodus of campers and fishermen heading to the Kenai on Memorial Day weekend. They could feature every sort of camper from tents to luxury Class A's and everything in between. Or even Dipnet Madness along the same lines.
I agree. The old guy next door is the best part of the show. I hope they show more of his operation.
Thinking about this this morning after last nights episode...
Is this a 3D mapping technology similar to what the Oil Industry is using? My pet theory is if they are looking for a "Glory Hole" they need a Topographical Map and the 3D Mapping to get a "Model" of where these ancient water falls maybe located.Again, just my arm chair theory, but they are using stone-age technology shot in the dark stuff when they can potentially nail it and be making money sooner using advanced technology...
Yes, that old salt is something. The compactness and thought-out nature of his processing equipment if “home-made” ought to be a study project for young mechanical engineers, brilliant IMHO...
At times we all have been great mechanics and sometimes all thumbs...
But this guy makes me look like "Smokey Yunick".
We need to pray for him, I hope he doesn't hurt himself. St Christopher Metal as a gift blessed might be a good thing.
More importantly, was his lecture about how the six of them were an inspiration to working men versus men sitting at home, getting unemployment, and watching TV. I was surprised that the Discovery Channel's editors didn't cut that scene (too manly, not chickified)...
I’ve been panning, sluicing, dredging and high banking for gold almost my whole life. I’ve been to Alaska, the rockies, the Carolinas, throughout New England, and tons more places looking. I did have quite a bit of success, one summer in the Northern California area, we used a power dredge to dredge deep areas, (20 25 feet) that weren’t accessible to the old gold panners. We worked areas beneath falls, and the usual places. All in all, you will never really get rich, you might get lucky and hit the big one, but you’d probably be more likely to do that with a lottery ticket than panning for gold. Its a great hobby, and you meet the best people and it gets you right back to nature. Its a great workout and you stay cool on the hottest of days, and man does the beer taste good at the end of the day.
As soon as I saw their plan to put the shaker on raised fill, my reaction was "uh-oh." That seems like an unstable platform for a shaker--with or without the deadman anchor. I predict that ground under the shaker will be a problem in the future. I know you can compress moved fill, but I still think the placement is suspect. What do you think?
What’s the deal with the fat leader guy yelling at the Dorsey guy? Especially after his kid left the food out that attracted the bear.
Either that was ridiculously staged or he’s the biggest prick in the world. It would be ironic if the kid gets attacked. And the mother on the phone crying was probably the worst acting since the “Shark is in the pond” girl from Jaws.
Watching this show (and others like it) is like watching NASCAR, you know it’s dumb but you can’t turn away because any second there could be an exciting accident.
He thinks he is a bad a$$. If he poked his finger on my chest he would be kneeling at my feet, a Buck knife at his throat and crying about his broken finger.
Some of both probably. I think most of the interpersonal confrontations are staged, or at least overemphasized. The producer/director seems to be actively developing this theme. It makes for good drama.
Todd ("the fat leader guy") is sometimes a genuine jerk. Remember that his dad, Jack, is the real leader and Todd's benefactor. I've known guys like that who relied on their fathers' success. They tend to be overblown.
On the other hand, Todd might have simply taken exception to another man disciplining his son.
If you Bing Porcupine Creek you will see that they set up near the coast, at Haines, not really boondocks as it would be out of Fairbanks.
The area has been worked over several times.
Remember..... a gold mine is a hole in the ground with a liar on top
I have concluded the thing is a TV show ant not real
This show is like watching a train wreck. The only “attraction” is waiting for someone to get hurt and wondering how bad it will be. I wouldn’t be within 100 yards of those guys while they’re running heavy equipment, or within 2 miles if they have weapons loaded.
I noticed they brought in the whiny realtors wife this time. No surprise, she’s as whiny as he is. Yes honey, just show up, put a shovel in the ground, and you’re a millionaire.
Or not. LOL
I watched some of this the other night,,,
IMHO this is a TV show,,,
Not even a water pump and sluice box for plan B. ,,,
The Gold Prospectors Association of America runs a rig like
that will run 100 yards per hour,,,
“Gold Fever” comes on after this mess,,,
I really wanted to like this show but the guys are total idiots.