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Is Gold Rush Actually Scripted?

Like most reality television shows, the legitimacy of Discovery's "Gold Rush" has often been called into question by the series' more skeptical viewers. Nearly every reality series out there constructs everything you see behind-the-scenes, or at least plans out the beats and general outline of what you might see in an episode – though admittedly, planning out the events of the average "Gold Rush" episode seems like an almost impossible task.

The show's drama hinges on the idea that everything these gold miners do is out of desperation and necessity, each one knowing full well that one bad yield could cause them to go broke, and force them to quit the mining business once and for all. As the show reminds us all too often, Gold Mining is a brutal business that only the toughest of people can endure – though according to former cast member Jimmy Dorsey, even some of the most brutal moments in the entire series were completely scripted.

Jimmy Dorsey claims that the series is heavily scripted

During an interview with Oregon Gold, Dorsey revealed that most of the series is completely scripted, to the point that the showrunners even scripted his own dramatic exit from the series. "It is scripted from the beginning. They knew exactly what they wanted to see out of the program." Dorsey explained. "The plans were made, but the footsteps were ours." Dorsey went on to describe how the confrontation between him and a fellow miner named Greg (which left Dorsey with broken ribs) was genuine and did actually happen, but the producers of the show essentially constructed the circumstances surrounding that fight. "They actually direct you into these situations. It became very real. That is why I actually got my ribs broke."

Dorsey went on to claim that the showrunners actually scripted his exit from the series following that altercation, despite the fact that he had no intentions of leaving. Lo and behold, Dorsey ended up leaving the series at the exact moment that the showrunners had written, and it stands to reason that many of the other shocking moments the series has given us over the years were similarly scripted. If "Gold Rush" can script somebody getting their ribs broken and being fired from the series, it seems like they can script anything they want – as long as they make it believable.