Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Is History's Mountain Men Staged?

History's "Mountain Men" is a reality series which chronicles the lives of several people who live on various mountain ranges across North America, and who usually make their living off of some career related exclusively to their unusual homes. Most notable among the show's eponymous mountain men is Eustace Conway, a man who lives within the Blue Ridge Mountain of North Carolina and runs a "nature school" on his property, teaching people about various wilderness survival skills.

Other cast members include a mountain lion hunter named Rich Lewis (who lives in the Ruby Valley in Montana), a fur trapper named George Michaud (who spends time camping within Idaho's Teton Range) and a hunter named Josh Kirk (who lives in Montana's Tobacco Root Mountains). As mentioned, the series is devoted to chronicling the everyday lives of these rugged survivalists, and the unique environment in which they live.

No doubt, there have been plenty of fans who have questioned whether or not the wild scenarios we see within this series are true to actual mountain life, or (as is the case in many reality television series) staged for the sake of reality television.

Mountain Men often alters the truth for the sake of entertainment

Unfortunately, it appears like what we see within "Mountain Men" blurs the line between fact and fiction, sometimes to an egregious extent. Indeed, one particularly extreme example was a storyline early on in the series in which Eustace Conway had to fight against the government while they attempted to seize his rightful property.

A report from AL.com indicates that, in actuality, the reason that Conway was at risk of losing his land was not due to a lien from the government, but was instead related to an expensive lawsuit from a woman who had been blinded while participating in Conway's "nature school." As if this bold-faced twist of reality wasn't bad enough, the report also claimed that Conway's entire mountain man persona is simply an act — referencing an interview with "Eat Pray Love" author Elizabeth Gilbert for her book "Last American Man," in which Conway admitted to being a "showman" who acts the part of the wild mountain man for business' sake.

"Mountain Men" cast member Tom Oar made similar admissions during his interview with the Billings Gazette, in which he confirmed that the showrunners often have to concoct dangerous scenarios to make his life seem less boring. 

In any case, it seems extremely likely that most of what you see within History's "Mountain Men" is either staged or exaggerated for the sake of entertainment. So while these rugged survivalists may still live up in the mountains, their lives are not what the show presents them to be.