If you ask me, the show Gold Rush is one of the most underrated programs on television. It's an in-depth look into a profession that we often hear about, but don't really inget to see.
Discovery Channel gave us an inside look into Todd Hoffman's literal gold digging adventures, which happen all over the place. From Porcupine Creek, Alaska, to the Klondike region of Yukon, Canada, Hoffman and his group of associates all want to find as much gold as possible.
When they started out, all the men were unemployed and looking to make a living, but now as the show (and the business) has become more successful, these guys are raking in some pretty serious cash!
While the show is unscripted and filmed documentary-style, there are some things you probably didn't know about Gold Rush. Don't worry, though! We've got you covered!
1. Fish Killers
The crew does a lot of mining in the deep wilderness, for obvious reasons, but they don't always respect the environment. During one episode, they were mining near a salmon habitat and had to cross it with a piece of equipment.
Salmon habitats are generally protected in order to ensure the species survives, but the crew seemed to believe that State laws allowed them to destroy it if need be. They ended up driving a 50-ton piece of equipment through the river and destroyed the habitat.
2. False Teeth
Dave Turin, who was on the show for seven years before quitting, was asked to tell the audience something they wouldn't know about him. Usually these answers are "I love art" or "I can play the guitar," but Turin's was different.
The miner revealed that he had all of his teeth knocked out when he was a kid. During a schoolyard fight, Turin stuck up for a friend who was being bullied and ended up getting clocked so hard in the face all his teeth fell out.
Turin's full set of teeth is false.
3. Lots Of Lawsuits
Just because you're famous doesn't mean you're immune from lawsuits. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Gold Rush has been the subject of numerous lawsuits which stem mainly from land usage and noise complaints.
South Park, Colorado filed a lawsuit in an attempt to halt filming in their city. The group, called "Save South Park," says the miners are only there for the ratings and make too much noise while they work. They also say that the crew is mining on land that was originally zoned for residential use.
They may not be wildly exciting lawsuits, but it could prevent the crew from mining there in the future.
4. Harness' Death
Fans were sad to see James Harness leave the show, especially when they found out he was struggling. Harness was fired after not achieving his 100-ounce goal that was set out by the team.
Harness passed away a few years after being fired, which is when more details came out about his life. Years prior to being on Gold Rush, Harness had been in a serious car accident which left him in constant pain. He ended up developing an addiction to pain medication, which affected how he did his job.
It later came to light that Harness' addiction was a main reason for letting the miner go. Harness died of a stroke in 2014.
5. No Experience Necessary
While it may seem like a bit of a hazard, the show prefers hiring miners with limited experience. The logic is that more drama will be created when things go wrong, and that viewers will connect more to the "Average Joe" than they would a professional gold miner.
6. If It's Broke, Don't Fix It
Speaking of hazards, there have been many claims from past cast members that production would "encourage" workers to forego regular maintenance on their equipment, once again to cause drama. When a machine breaks during a mining session, there's always a question of whether or not the crew will be able to deal with it, which makes for good television.
Because they're inexperienced as well, a lot of the crew just doesn't know how to properly keep their equipment up to code. That's why a lot of their machines will die halfway through a season, even though it should last much longer.
Have you ever wondered how the cameras manage to capture the exact moment a machine shuts down, or someone finds something unique? That's because they don't. The cameras aren't always rolling during the mining process, and if something exciting happens which they happen to miss, well they just make everyone do it all over again.
8. Vicious Villains
Editing is the worst enemy of a reality TV star, just ask Jimmy Dorsey. Dorsey claims that after leaving Gold Rush, the production crew made him out to be a villain through a series of bad edits.
Dorsey would often be shown complaining about safety hazards, which it sounds like there were a lot of, and then getting chastised by other workers who wanted to continue on with the job. According to Dorsey, production just chose to edit him in a bad light, which didn't reflect who he really is.
9. Bear Necessities
When you shoot a show in the wilderness, you're bound to encounter wildlife. During filming in 2010, the crew members didn't seem to realize that leaving food out in the wilderness was a bad choice.
Although bears will stay away from humans unless provoked, they will not stay away from graham crackers. One of the miners left some out on a camp site and a bear made its way over. They all got spooked, and miner Mike Halstead ended up tracking down the bear and shooting it.
10. Mean Mr. Hoffman
Todd Hoffman may run the show, but he's not all that nice. Hoffman has apparently left his family and friends behind in order to gain fame and fortune. Former cast members have said Hoffman's inexperience leads to a lot of trouble and yelling on set.
He also doesn't care for safety regulations, which seems to be a recurring them on Gold Rush.
11. Pay The Price
If you or I hear that something could cost us a fine, we generally decide to avoid it at all costs. However, the production crew doesn't feel the same way. Environmental representatives often come to the mining locations in order to ensure things are being done properly.
But when errors are found, producers choose not to fix them in order to get a fine. At one point, they were fined for not properly redirecting water while they were mining. Production hoped that they could get some free publicity from having to go through the courts to get a civil matter settled, but ultimately it was settled outside of court.
It still makes for some great TV, though.
12. Parker's Paycheck
Parker Schnabel may only be 24 years old, but he's already got a net worth of over $2 million. In season five of Gold Rush alone, Parker raked in one million dollars. Not bad for someone who isn't even a quarter-century old yet.
But despite the clear indication that Parker makes money, he still says he's in debt "more than anyone else his age" and that he should be "pitied" for his situation. I find it hard to pity someone who made more money in one season of television than the average American sees in their lifetime, but whatever.
13. Drama Makes Money
If it ever seems like the drama is forced by certain miners, that's because it is. The cast of the show soon caught on that the more drama they stirred up, the more airtime they got.
More airtime = more money.
Miners will often start fights off camera so they can catch the attention of the crew and be the focus of a new storyline. So while the fighting may be real, the reasoning behind it may be money, not animosity.
14. Scripted Reality
In addition to criticizing the editing, Jimmy Dorsey revealed that Gold Rush is more or less scripted. While he did admit that some of the lines are improvised, Dorsey said that almost everything is planned out and expected. They are fed lines that producers want in the show, as opposed to letting things flow naturally.
So much for "reality" TV, I guess.