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The Best Gold Rush: White Water Episode According To IMDb

Discovery's "Gold Rush" has spawned eight spin-off series, including "Gold Rush: White Water," which has now aired five seasons. "Gold Rush: White Water" is a family affair, led by father and son team Fred and Dustin Hurt, as well as brothers Paul and Wes Richardson. Paul's wife Kayla Sheets, who happens to be Fred's stepdaughter, also appeared in the first three seasons before a falling out with Dustin. The often tense interplay between family members is what led Kayla, her brother Zach, and their mother Jennifer to depart the show.

Fred commented on the sometimes messy dynamics between past and present "Gold Rush: White Water" cast members in an interview with TV Insider. "Some of the show will make you cringe," he said. "The seriousness of it, the levity of it, the interaction between Dustin and I and the crew and whatever. But fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters — they don't always get along in life, and this is a lot of what you will see in this show." 

However, it seems that viewers haven't been put off by the family squabbles or the absence of the Sheets family in later seasons. Over on IMDb, users have given each of the 18 episodes of Season 5 at least a 7.6/10 rating. And that is in line with previous seasons, as, other than the lesser-regarded Season 1, most episodes of the series have earned on average 7 points or more from IMDb reviewers. But even among such consistent approval, there is one episode that stands out above the others.

Season 5, Episode 17 of Gold Rush: White Water ranks highest among IMDb viewers

"Gold Rush: White Water" Season 5, Episode 17, titled "A Golden Opportunity," aired in March 2022 and has earned a series-high average rating of 8.6/10 from IMDb reviewers. The episode opens with Dustin, Wes, newly added miner Kayla Johanson, and camera operator Marty Fowler scouting a creek in the wilderness near Valdez, Alaska for a suitable place to prospect. The episode's most stunning shots — of spectacular waterfalls in an area that Dustin determines is too dangerous to explore further — come early via Fowler's drone, but there is plenty more to see in this thrilling chapter. 

The episode jumps back and forth between the Valdez site and another in a rushing creek near McKinley, where Fred is overseeing a major dredging operation. At one point, the raging white water from a storm upriver knocks the crew's dredges from their moorings, and Scott Allen barks at a camera operator to get out of his way in a moment of obviously genuine panic. Dustin even chimes in to observe that "this is the kind of water that finishes your season for you." The team rallies to clear more than eight feet of debris deposited by the flood, with even 78-year-old Fred donning a wetsuit and taking his turn dredging the creek bottom. 

While neither site yields a huge haul of gold, the teams at both locations find enough healthy-sized nuggets to encourage further exploration and satisfy viewers. Moments of real fear and joy are plentiful throughout this episode, and viewers were clearly enthralled by the ride.