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The Gold Rush Moment In Season 1 That Pushed James Harness Over The Edge

Although the long-term cast members of "Gold Rush" have become remarkably successful during the show's 13 Seasons on air, back in Season 1, nearly every single miner was fighting for their lives. Season 1 of "Gold Rush" focused primarily on fledgling gold miner Todd Hoffman as he and his team took a leap of faith and entered the gold mining industry with minimal experience.

Hoffman and crew endured setback after setback during their first season in Alaska. They learned firsthand about the grueling hours, horrific conditions, and high risk of failure that people must endure to make it in this industry. As such, tensions within the Hoffman crew increased exponentially during that first season. There were several brutal fights between team members — some of which, as in the case of "Gold Rush" Season 1's fight and subsequent cabin fire, led to crew members being kicked straight off of the show itself.

Despite the fact Dorsey's firing was celebrated by most of the Hoffman crew, his absence resulted in two brothers joining the team: Fred and Dustin Hurt, the former of whom caused yet another physical altercation shortly afterward when he pushed James Harness over the edge.

A dispute over a broken hose greatly angered Harness

Tensions between Fred Hurt and James Harness erupted almost immediately after Hurt and his brother first arrived on Todd Hoffman's site — partially because Hurt himself was employed by the owner of the claim and not Hoffman (who had only rented the claim for work). An immediate outsider, Hurt's critical attitude earned him the enmity of his fellow miners, especially fellow crew member James Harness.

Harness was already in dire straits when Hurt showed up, having suffered a serious back injury and subsequently lost his pain medication. Without his medicine, Harness looked to be in physical agony and had an extremely short fuse — something Hurt failed to consider when he began criticizing Harness' work. Although Harness weathered this abuse for a long time, he finally lost his cool in one fateful episode when Hurt stood over Harness and harshly critiqued the latter's attempt to fix a hose. Harness was pushed over the edge and began to fight back: shouting at Hurt and shoving him back before the rest of the crew intervened.

Although tensions finally settled after that, it's clear that Harness wasn't going to idly sit by and take this verbal jabbing forever — something Fred hurt learned the hard way.

After appearing in two seasons of "Gold Rush," James Harness tragically passed away in 2014 at 57.