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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

Comments

Submitted by GVN (not verified) on
If Eustace is so concerned with the enviornment then why is there a rusting auto graveyard on his "reserve"? On the episode where the intern is let go, and in reviews on the book about Eustace on Amazon it is mentioned, there is a large collection of rusting cars just sitting around. Is this a new composting technique? I mean ithere is no telling what could be leaking from the engines in those cars into the soil. I keep hear him talking about "taking care of the reserve" and yet most of his work is centered on the cleared area with buildings unless he's hunting or traveling to that magical magical creek that can power an old sawmill. I live in this area and if that magical creek really did what he claims we would have it powering the town and university.

Submitted by Dictionary Dude (not verified) on
I'm glad everyone can sit behind their computer or TV and judge others...WOW...take a look at your self pay close attention to #3...words usually have more than "one" meaning mis·fire [v. mis-fiuhr; n. mis-fahyuhr] Show IPA verb, mis·fired, mis·fir·ing, noun verb (used without object) 1. (of a rifle or gun or of a bullet or shell) to fail to fire or explode. 2. (of an internal-combustion engine) to fail to ignite properly or when expected. 3. to fail to achieve the desired result, effect, etc.: His criticisms completely misfired. Eustace is a very intelligent man and is the real deal...peace

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Thank you Eustace for your contribution.....

Submitted by NC Lawyer (not verified) on
If Useless thinks that "misfire" means "to not hit the target," then when he said that his gun had never misfired, did it come from the factorey with its aftermarket scope perfectly sighted? Clearly that's not what "misfire" means. You have never shot a gun, have you? No one at any time ever says "misfire" when they mean "miss." What kind of apologist are you? And which gun misfired? The one Justin sighted, or the one useless actually shot. So how was it Justin's fault? I have nmade this post 3 times and someone keeps deleting it. Very interesting.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Honestly... who cares what he called it. I'm sure nobody has ever been frustrated and used a wrong word for something.

Submitted by NC Lawyer (not verified) on
He didn't "get frustrated and use a wrong word." The guy is supposed to be an expert. He was using a specific term about what is supposed to be his expertise. You backpeddaling for him is not going to work. This is not a term any real outdoorsman would use. Ever. It was clearly Euseless saying what the producers told him to say because he was trying to make Justin look bad. It was a completely stupid thing to say.

Submitted by Rory (not verified) on
Like when your relatives call you a genius when they mean to call you an imbecile?

Sorry, Dude; your attempt to take up for Eustace and his improper use of "misfire" for his particular situation is, ironically, a misfire itself.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Sorry....but I have to agree with NC lawyer on this one. I have been handling firearms for DECADES and I have NEVER heard ANYONE refer to a missed shot as a misfire. The context you cite in your definition when referring to a firearm is for a failure of the cartridge to ignite or the gun's firing pin to malfunction. Misfire in regards to firearms is used to describe a situation where NO shot was fired or a malfunction. To the best of my knowledge it has never been used to qualify a missed shot. If so than it was in error....at least from the viewpoint of anyone with even the basic knowledge of firearms. Here is a good explanation... Misfires "Though firearms and their ammunition are made to exacting specifications and tolerances and designed to function reliably, malfunctions of firearms and ammunition do happen. Malfunctions of the primer and/or powder within a cartridge are colloquially known as "misfires", and include failures to discharge (duds), delayed discharge (hang-fires), and incomplete or insufficient discharge (squibs)." Nowhere is a firearm misfire characterized as missing the target. Eustace might have misspoke or maybe he is ignorant of common firearm terminology. I believe the way he is portrayed on this show is probably not fair to him. I doubt if he would have someone else sight in his rifle. But he obviously agreed to it prior to filming for dramatic effect. He clearly wasn't savvy enough to realize how it would look on the show. It was a bonehead move. The misfire comment was regrettable as well. I am sure he is a good hunter and proficient with a firearm....it is a shame he allowed the producers to cast him as a fool and make no doubt about it.....he comes off as a fool. This show is as fake as a three dollar bill which is unfortunate because all 3 of these men have compelling stories to tell. The hype and fabricated story lines with laughable drama really hurts the show. It really is a shame because this could have been an excellent show had it been on PBS.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Sorry Mechele....my comment was intended for Dictionary Dude.

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