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Mountain Men Star Tom Oar Is Unexpectedly Circumspect About Retirement

History's "Mountain Men" follows the rustic lives of several survivalists living off nature in the rural mountain ranges across North America. Imagine your average woodsman living in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere, with their closest neighbors miles away, and you have a vague picture of the cast of "Mountain Men."

The reality TV show premiered in 2012, with its 11th season starting in September 2022. Most episodes focus on the problems each cast member faces living out in the wilderness, far removed from the everyday comforts of the modern world that we've become so accustomed to. Audiences are usually captivated by each cast member's daily lives, everyday struggles, and sometimes harrowing adventures that most of them will never experience.

One cast member, in particular, is a trapper named Tom Oar. He and his wife Nancy live in Montana's Yaak River Valley and survive by trapping animals for their meat and hides, which he tans to make clothing and sells at rendezvous, along with moccasins and knives. Each year, Oar races against time to ensure that he's fully prepared for the harsh winter months.

In an interview with American Cowboy, Oar explains that while working in rodeos, he'd spent time in Montana, staying with friends. At a certain point, he and his wife, who were Illinois natives, decided that they wanted to live in a log cabin in Montana. After purchasing a chainsaw and an acre and a half of land, they set to work building their home. Five years later, they finished their log cabin and lived there for over 30 years.

Tom Oar would consider retiring

At the time of the interview, which took place in 2017, Oar was 70 and still working hard out in the wilderness. The show emphasizes that Oar's kids are pressuring him to retire and move to Florida. Though you'd think with the show's success and his love for hard work and the outdoors, he'd never want to give it up. However, in a rather candid moment, Oar explains that he has his concerns and understands that he might have to soon. "Yeah. I'm 70 years old. It takes eight or nine cords of wood to keep this place warm. It's just Nancy and me and an old Dodge pickup and 30-foot chain," Oar intimated to American Cowboy. "We can't keep doing this forever. I keep telling Nancy, one of these days you'll probably just find me stretched out dead over the fleshing block."

What seemed like a rather offhanded, bleak comment almost became a prediction. In Episode 4 of Season 11, Oar had a health scare after waking up in the middle of the night because of difficulty breathing. Concerned about the issue, the couple took the drive into town to see a doctor. There, the medical personnel equipped him with a heart rate monitor to gather data.

Thankfully, the fifth episode of Season 11 brought some good news for Oar. Three weeks later, the cardiologists determined from the data that with continuous medication, Oar's heart should strengthen over time.