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The Real Reason Fred Hurt Left Gold Rush

Across 11 — soon to be 12 — intense seasons of television, "Gold Rush" has supplied viewers with no shortage of dramatic moments. In hopes of hitting it big in the gold mining business, folks from all walks of life have suffered crushing losses and enjoyed the sweet taste of victory along the way. Regardless of the outcome, the vast majority continue to press onward in hopes of even bigger scores, even if that means running the risk of facing even worse defeats. 

Many of the names "Gold Rush" has featured refuse to let such setbacks keep them down for long. Take, for instance, one of the stars of "Gold Rush: White Water," Carlos Minor, whose infectious positivity may rub some the wrong way, but it ensures his bad days don't overtake him. Although, not everyone is cut out for such a physically demanding and sometimes dangerous line of work. Case in point, former "Gold Rush" regular Paul Richardson couldn't take the strain it put on his family, leading to his departure in 2020.

That brings us to one of the most well-known names to ever grace the "Gold Rush" roster: "Dakota" Fred Hurt. From Season 1 to Season 4, Hurt was a key player on the program, only to disappear completely from Season 5 onward. Here's why he left, and what he has been up to in the time since.

Fred Hurt's departure came down to financials

In 2014, various outlets confirmed that Fred Hurt would not return to "Gold Rush" for its fifth season, and thankfully, fans of the show didn't have to wait very long to find out why. Hurt himself took to Facebook (via Starcasm) to explain the entire situation, writing, "I am not rich..... I am a working class guy like most of you. After spending more for four years straight than I made, there was no way for me to continue." He then tacks on the mantra of "If you want a Miner, call me.......if you want an Actor, pay me like one."

Hurt's post didn't end there, as he noted that there was also a conflict of interest behind the scenes that contributed to his farewell. "[...]we did not go along with every cocamainy idea the film people dreamed up......" he revealed, mentioning that the season dedicated to mining in South America was "disastrous" and that he and his son, Dustin Hurt, were left entirely on their own creatively. Hurt also stated in a comment that "I'm entertaining millions of people using my own resources ......and Discovery is pocketing all the profit," further exemplifying the strain between him and the network.

Though his words were scathing enough to burn virtually any bridge, Fred Hurt didn't leave the "Gold Rush" world behind for good. He and Dustin are the focal points of the aforementioned spin-off "Gold Rush: White Water," which has run on Discovery since 2018. One can only hope that this means his business relationship with the minds behind the series has healed and his financial situation has greatly improved.