Error message

Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in menu_set_active_trail() (line 2405 of /home/hulijedw/public_html/includes/menu.inc).

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 Anonymous (not verified) on
You are an idiot. They make gun oil for a reason tard. You think hunters stay inside when it rains? Maybe metro computer ridden morons like yourself.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
You are an idiot. They make gun oil for a reason tard. You think hunters stay inside when it rains? Maybe metro computer ridden morons like yourself.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
You are an idiot. They make gun oil for a reason tard. You think hunters stay inside when it rains? Maybe metro computer ridden morons like yourself.

Submitted by chas1d (not verified) on
maybe he should get glasses,or have the camera man walk further off to the side so they dont mess the trail up

Submitted by Jay C. White Cloud (not verified) on
I have to say, as a professional in the wilderness education field, I had a difficult time watching these three characters and the staged performances they acted out. I have lost considerable respect for the, "History Channel," and what they are producing. There was little, (no,) reality in so many of their actions. Just two that have been referenced here by other viewers depicts the misleading information. No outdoors man with any experience would ever use the barrel of his weapon to poke around leaves looking for "sign," and, by the way, the worry of a rattle snake is complete nonsense. Let me validate my comments a bit, I have, literally handled hundreds of varieties of venomous snakes around the world, I spend 350 plus days working and sleeping out doors, (I am there right now,) and, as an inactive Marine and hunting guide, I know a little something about hunting weapons.

Submitted by Rory (not verified) on
If even a homeless person agrees with me then that should put the argument to rest. Thank you very much and good luck finding a place to stay.

Submitted by NC Lawyer (not verified) on
Look, the guy has an entire tissue line named after him. You think he's homeless? Just ask my Aunt Charmin if paper products make money. In other news, thank you for your service, Jay. I have a Swiss K31 that I baby and my newer rifles don't get abused, either. I am simply amazed that someone owns a rifle that old and doesn't understand this simple concept. Unless it is stainless, it will pit and rust if it is handled. Hell, if you play a brass instrument you know this. That's why people who play brass instruments wear white gloves. Remember how Louis Armstrong held his axe with a washcloth? It's almost hard to find a picture of him without it. As for snakes, I understand that the poisonous snakes where Euseless lives are the Cottonmouth (or Water Mocassin), Pygmies and Copperheads. Am I missing anything?

Submitted by Jay C. White Cloud (not verified) on
Gosh, you are going to start with a name joke? Then you will appreciate this, I have actual had folks ask, “hay, is that a real Indian name?” I look at them, a bit harshly at first, then smile and say, “no, I named myself after toilet paper on purpose…what do you think?” You and Rory have made this entire thread worth following, some of your retorts had me laughing till it hurts, please don’t stop. You know, since you mentioned it, your right about brass instrument players and gloves. I have a few musician friends that are always cleaning and buffing, and, what do you know, when asked why, skin acid and general respect for the art is their answer. (That’s a novel thought for you Jerry T, respect and an ability to admit when you are wrong about something.) Eustace doesn’t have to deal with Moccasins (Agkistrodon sp.,) in his area; they are strictly a coastal species in North Carolina, as are the Pygmies (Sistrurus sp.,) However, Copperheads (Agkistrodon sp.,), related to the Moccasins, are very common in the highlands of North Carolina, and are one of the most common forms of snake envenomation in the United States. There is also a relatively healthy population of Timber Rattlers, (called Canebrakes on the cost,) in the mountains of the Carolinas. There is actually a video at Turtle Island’s web site of Eustace, with children all around him, handling a Copperhead while it crawls around on a stick, all the while explaining that it is all right for him to touch it, (molest?) but they should never try. His treatment and presentation of the animal was poor to say the least and potentially dangers. Anybody that works with kids knows as soon as you show them something and then tell them not to do it…well, we all know what comes next. You have to keep live venoms animal presentations very professional and avoid bravado and showman ship at all cost. Eustace’s dumping a copper head out of a filthy five gallon bucket then pocking it around with a stick till it crawls on it, finish off by prying its mouth open to show it’s fangs is neither professional nor wise, especially with children observing. It really speaks to the character of the man and what his actual motivations are.

Submitted by NC Lawyer (not verified) on
Holy crap. I haven't been to the site, but Euseless is an idiot. Your point is dead on. As for the name, I remember an old Native say that you could tell real Indian names from fake ones. Real ones will be commonplace and descriptive. Fake ones will always be something a European would find beautiful or mystical. That's not verbatim, but my understanding of what he said. I like your name, BTW. As for Cottonmouths, aren't they found inland as far as Lake Norman now?

Submitted by NC Lawyer (not verified) on
Holy crap. I haven't been to the site, but Euseless is an idiot. Your point is dead on. As for the name, I remember an old Native say that you could tell real Indian names from fake ones. Real ones will be commonplace and descriptive. Fake ones will always be something a European would find beautiful or mystical. That's not verbatim, but my understanding of what he said. I like your name, BTW. As for Cottonmouths, aren't they found inland as far as Lake Norman now?

Pages

Add new comment