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The Biggest Fights In Gold Rush History

Gold mining is not an easy job. It's physically exhausting and requires massive machinery, vehicles, and equipment that if not used properly can cause severe injury or even death. On top of all that, everyone involved takes a huge risk in devoting a substantial amount of time towards seeking a rare substance that may never be found. Therefore, mining operators might invest huge sums of money with no payoff, while workers are left wishing they had earned a wage elsewhere.

Given all of those factors, it makes perfect sense that tempers have flared continuously throughout the filming of the series "Gold Rush." On top of all that, the presence of television cameras does not tend to have a calming effect on emotionally charged situations, to say the least. But the miners, especially those who have been on the show for a few seasons, are well aware what they signed up for, and the film crew never misses an opportunity to capture a dramatic event to keep viewers enthralled. Here are the most intense conflicts that have occurred on the show.

Jim Dorsey vs. Greg Remsburg

The first season of "Gold Rush" looked like one of the toughest for the Hoffmans and their crew because the team seriously lacked experience and took a huge risk by being part of such an endeavor. Tensions became incredibly high by Episode 6 when their lack of gold meant that they could no longer afford to have their families stay at the camp of the worksite. Greg Remsburg was especially devastated to say goodbye to his wife and children before they flew back to the lower 48 states.

Meanwhile, the team's struggle to find gold was the most difficult for Jim Dorsey, who had invested everything he owned into the project. With the crew on edge, the volatile environment resulted in the first major fight of the series breaking out between Dorsey and Remsburg. The altercation quickly got physical, leaving Dorsey bruised up a bit and both of the men rushing to the authorities to tell their side of the story.

Afterwards, neither man faced legal action, but Dorsey left "Gold Rush" immediately with his family after they gathered their belongings. Overall, the crew was fed up with Dorsey, so they celebrated his departure by setting his vacated cabin on fire before Jack Hoffman demolished it with an excavator.

Dave Turin vs. Trey Poulson

The fierce fight between Dave Turin and Trey Poulson in Season 7 was the worst of the entire show. Prior to the blow up, the two did not get along very well when they had to work together, and Poulson accidentally caused Turin to fall out of his canoe and into a reservoir of filthy water. From then on, Turin decided that he was going to interact with his rival as little as possible.

When the Hoffman Crew moved their entire operation to Colorado, the group was split up into two separate teams. Turin was the head of one team, while Poulson was the co-leader of the other. While the men were separated, their rivalry only intensified as Poulson's team heavily outperformed the other. In the finale of the season when the pressure was at its height to finish the mining season strong, Poulson's team needed a spare loader and Turin made the mistake of delivering one to him.

Turin was understandably cold, but it was not until he began to curse at the other man that Poulson began to lose it. Their argument then rapidly escalated until they came to blows and Turin was laid out. He got right back up and the two brawlers had to be physically restrained by their fellow team members. Although Turin apologized, the damage was already done, and he decided to leave the Hoffman Crew after seven years of working together.

Parker Schnabel vs. Tony Beets

The rivalry between Parker Schnabel and Tony Beets is quite possibly the greatest of the series, and that is certainly the case when concerning the mining operators of "Gold Rush." Over the long run of the show, the sometimes-volatile relationship has caused some ugly confrontations. Looking back at how naïve and optimistic the teen Schnabel was when they first met and how he hoped to up his game working with Beets is actually a little sad considering how everything played out. The veteran operator expected major results and then got visibly upset when Schnabel failed to provide what was wanted. 

For the most part, Beets had the power in the relationship as Schnabel would often have to work on land overseen by the more experienced mining operator, which is no surprise due to the considerable age difference between the two. This led to tough situations where Beets could literally shut down Schnabel's wash plant whether he liked it or not, as the claim owner did in Season 8.

Given the way Beets treated his younger rival, Schnabel would take any chance he could get for revenge. When Schnabel needed to remove a large amount of dirt and realized he could dump it on Beets' land without facing any repercussions, he did so without hesitation. Beets was livid, of course. But the agreement he made with Schnabel put him in a weaker position, forcing him to remain silent.

'Dakota' Fred Hurt vs. James Harness

In the second half of Season 1, Jim Dorsey was gone, much to the joy of the Hoffman Crew. However, he was replaced by an outsider who also managed to push all the wrong buttons. "Dakota" Fred Hurt was an outsider who really worked for the owner of the claim that was leased to Todd Hoffman. That fact alone made the situation somewhat awkward. And yet it was the critical attitude of the newcomer that was too much to take for one crewmember, James Harness.

On top of the tension of not finding much gold, Harness was even more on edge because of severe back pain from a previous injury and he no longer had his medication. The two interacting on the worksite was a time bomb just waiting to go off, which exploded dramatically when Hurt loomed over Harness and judged the mechanic as he fixed a detached hose. Harness could no longer take the abuse. Not only did he shout at Hurt, but he even shoved the man before the rest of the crew broke them up.

Parker Schnabel vs. The Dakota Boys

Along with Tony Beets, Parker Schnabel has gotten into several fights and disputes with other gold miners throughout the years. The first major conflict was with the neighboring Dakota Boys, Fred and Dustin Hurt, in Season 3. At first, Schnabel may not have had any ill intent; he was simply trying to make more money by replacing the bridge at Porcupine Creek because he was desperate for cash. The Hurts were not pleased because the missing bridge cut them off from the rest of civilization, which meant they could not leave the claim for fuel or any other much-needed supplies. It's also possible that Schnabel deliberately took the opportunity to get revenge on Fred for not allowing him to borrow a spare electrical panel three weeks earlier.

In the episode titled "Battle of the Bridge," the situation escalated as Dustin Hurt became aggravated that Schnabel was unwilling to make any accommodations for his neighbors. The encounter left Schnabel feeling disrespected. His father, Roger, was then brought in as an arbiter, and it seemed like the problem was resolved when the Schnabels agreed to build a temporary bridge. But Fred Hurt lost his cool once he realized the bridge was basically just a plank of wood. He was then seen menacingly brandishing a knife in his rage as he spoke to the camera regarding the perceived insult.

Kendell Madden vs. Johnny Stanz

A huge argument erupted in Season 11 when foreman Kendell Madden was harshly critical of Johnny Stanz directly to his face. As the most experienced member of the crew, Madden grew increasingly annoyed with the little mistakes Stanz was making and eventually blew up. Understandably angry over this, Stanz shouted back and made it clear that he didn't answer to Madden. Since he was the foreman, Madden thought otherwise and made it clear that he should be listened to as he was the only one who truly knew what he was doing. Nevertheless, Stanz was done being insulted and stormed off.

Behaving like a true leader, Fred Lewis stepped in and successfully calmed the growing tension by gathering the group and having everyone talk out their issues. It turned out that Madden's condescending attitude was not appreciated by more of the crew than just Stanz. Once that was brought to his attention, the foreman apologized for his attitude.

Dave Turin vs. Clarke James

Two years after his brutal encounter with Trey Poulson, Dave Turin returned for the "Gold Rush" spinoff "Dave Turin's Lost Mine" where he finally became the main man calling the shots. In the first season, it did not take long for a problem to arise with one of his employees. Not only did Clarke James miss a flight that caused delays for the whole operation, but he did not even call Turin to notify the boss of his mistake.

Already ticked off, Turin became even angrier when James simply dismissed his concerns and made excuses instead of taking responsibility for his actions. Utterly frustrated, Turin tried to walk away before the situation got worse. Then James criticized his leadership, and the boss had enough. Turin walked back to warn James not to test him, but after realizing the argument was going nowhere, Turin walked off again and did not return.

Parker Schnabel vs. Rick Ness

As the youngest boss on "Gold Rush," Parker Schnabel often feels the need to assert his authority. Sometimes it seems necessary because some men have a hard time listening to someone who isn't as experienced. But when Schnabel's concerns were completely disregarded by Rick Ness in a Season 8 episode, Schnabel's patience was worn paper thin. Ness had a plan to dig a canal and Schnabel was okay with it as long as the project did not interfere with the rest of the operation. So when Ness directed four other workers to help with their vehicles without consulting Schnabel, the boss was not pleased.

Schnabel was calm when he confronted Ness, but his anger was clear. The crewman defended himself at first and then quickly gave in and apologized for overstepping. However, Schnabel was still irritated and made sure that Ness would not make such costly decisions without him going forward.

Parker Schnabel vs. Greg Remsburg

When the Hoffmans decided to change things up dramatically and mine in Guyana instead of Alaska for Season 4, Greg Remsburg joined Parker Schnabel's crew in order to remain north. The crew member began to frustrate his new boss almost immediately when Remsburg made the huge mistake of getting rid of valuable pay dirt, probably rich with gold. Schnabel then erupted on Remsburg when he thought the crewman was working too slowly, until he was informed by his foreman that it was not Remsburg's fault — the slow pace was a result of problems in the operation.

The tension between the two abated at that point but was reignited when Schnabel began to push the entire crew to their breaking point. Once again, the leader was desperate to increase productivity, so he was behaving in a way that caused a lot of discontent. Remsburg became the representative of the nearly mutinous crew and angered the boss so much with his comments that he almost fired him on the spot. However, Schnabel was able to cool down afterwards and listened to some leadership advice from his grandfather. Schnabel apologized to his crew and promised to reward them with portions of the profits from the gold they found, which greatly pleased the team.

Juan Ibarra vs. the Hoffman Crew

The bosses of the Hoffman Crew at 316 Mining were not pleased with mechanic Juan Ibarra after he made a huge mistake by constructing a chute that was not large enough, causing a long delay. Hunter Hoffman was particularly annoyed with Ibarra's performance but was not nearly as furious as Trey Poulson became when Ibarra left the worksite and became unreachable, either by phone or through radio. 

Once Ibarra returned, Poulson unloaded on him. What made the crew leader even more upset was that Ibarra instantly began to defend himself and make excuses instead of apologizing for the issues he caused. The mechanic had enough with the scolding and simply got back into his truck to get out of the situation. Later, Ibarra would leave the Hoffman Crew to work with Tony Beets in Season 9. It's not surprising that he wanted to remove himself from that sort of environment.

Parker Schnabel vs. his employees

When mining precious metals, it is essential to gather up every single speck of the substance no matter how small due to its massive value. Therefore, it was not a surprise when Parker Schnabel became suspicious of his employees when a couple of gold-filled pans were moved without his permission. The boss became even more alarmed when he realized that as much as an ounce of gold could be missing. 

Schnabel began to ask around. It quickly became clear that someone could have taken the gold, but he had no way to prove that was the case. Visibly upset, Schnabel continued to grill his worker Glenn for answers, but Glenn was adamant that all he did was move the pans and nothing else. If Schnabel was older, he may not have let something like that slide, but then again, there was little he could do without any evidence that foul play had occurred.

Hunter Hoffman and friends vs. the rest of the crew

One of the most terrifying things that gold miners might fear almost as much as getting injured on the job is an official from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) showing up to shut down the entire operation because of a failure to follow proper procedures. Therefore, when the actions of Hunter Hoffman and three other miners resulted in an imminent danger citation from the regulatory body, the rest of the crew were furious with them. Acting incredibly irresponsibly, Hunter, Sterling Anderson, and the other two hopped onto moving vehicles and rode them without seatbelts right in front of the official.

The worst part for the veterans of the Hoffman Crew was that they were well aware of the repercussions if anything went wrong when MSHA was around, so they expected no problems and were shocked by the actions of their younger crew members. If it were up to Poulson, all of them would have been fired on the spot and never worked for 316 Mining again, but Todd Hoffman could not do that to his son.