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Discovery’s Gold Rush was Totally Fake

What other reality show captures the same level of thrill and excitement as Gold Rush? Very few if you ask us.

The show is all about the search for gold and the perils and struggles that come with the territory.

It’s not like the old days, Modern gold mining utilizes new technologies and innovations. It is to pull gold out of the ground in ways that miners a hundred years ago wouldn’t imagine.

The potential of big rewards comes with some very high stakes. Setting the stage for some juicy reality show drama that has kept audiences tuning in for 11 seasons. Although the last season was seriously stifled by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over the seasons we’ve become acquainted with a handful of ‘colorful‘ characters from the series. There’s Jack and Todd Hoffman, the father-son team, Parker Schnabel, Fred Hurt, and Dave Turin. All of which have become fan favorites over the years.

Ever since the show premiered, it’s gone through constant change season after season. One thing that is constant is the high-intensity plot lines that keep the series moving forward. People become suspicious that the show is partly or mostly scripted to keep the energy flowing and the audience watching. Stay tuned to find out just how much of Gold Rush is entirely fake. For one thing, you’re going to be blown away how much the miners are being paid for each episode. Stay Tuned to find out what they are really making.

Equipment Breakdown and Repair

In real-world operations, a mechanical breakdown would take a lengthy amount of time to fix. In Gold Rush, a 150-foot hydraulic line can be repaired in is a matter of seconds. Despite the fact that equipment like that can be almost impossible to find in the Yukon. This kind of television wizardry has led many viewers to raise suspicions. The crew is getting a little helping hand that typical mining operations wouldn’t be privileged to.

Gold Clean-Up Segments

There’s this scene in season 7 where a crew member picks though the sluice. Set aside the larger nuggets and then the next scene shows Jack separating out all the finer gold pieces. The final weigh-in is a dismal 3.5 ounces which would be awful considering how much time, effort and money. They put into the operation, but they disregard the fact that those precious nuggets were just extracted a minute prior. Where did they all go?

Breaking the Rules

The show paints a picture that the miners don’t mind bending or breaking the rules. It is to get their yield. According to a report by Oregon Live, the producers of Gold Rush get the necessary permits before they go mining.

They get all their paperwork in order. They also contact all the state regulators prior to filming to make sure they are in compliance with the law. It was also noted that oftentimes a state employee was kept on hand right outside. It is for the cameras field of view to make sure that everything remains kosher.

Crossing a River isn’t a Big Deal

If you believed everything you saw on Gold Rush then you will believe that crossing the Kleheni river. It is with Jack Hoffman’s 40-ton excavator was some kind of harrowing task.

But in all reality, it’s a fairly common practice for vehicles and equipment to make a pass like this. It is when their weight supersedes the recommendations of the Porcupine Bridge nearby. Alaska’s Fish and Game rep Jackie Timothy pointed out that as long it’s not a spawning bed. Then it’s perfectly legal to cross a river in such a way.

The Bear Threat Isn’t Really That Bad

Gold Rush makes it seem like bears are a miner’s worse enemy. Kerwin Krause, a geologist with the Department of Natural Resources however told Oregon Live that the threat isn’t nearly as serious as the show portrays it to be. A mining camp with loud equipment and generators running would scare any bear in the area away. For the most part, they won’t bother you. They tend to have plenty to eat with the abundance of fish and berries in the region anyway.

Mysterious Disappearances of Miners

Throughout the series, we see miners come and go. It’s a pretty regular occurrence. In reality, miners would never just leave midway through a season. They are subject to contractual employment agreements and would be bound to stay for the entire duration of said contract.

It’s also fascinating when one of the miners leaves only to wind up on another reality show If that doesn’t raise a red flag then we don’t know what would.

Todd’s Crew Profiting From Mining Quickly

The show depicts Todd and his crew as turning a profit every single week even though he’s only mining like 50 to 100 ounces a weak.

If you factor in the fact that he is running 3 mines with 10 plus employees, operating 3 wash plants, and utilizing several million dollars worth of machinery on lease then the math doesn’t come close to adding up.

50 ounces would only equate to around 65 grand. If you also consider the fact that he’s paying 10% for the use of the land then he’s only taking in about $45,000 which wouldn’t even cover wages and fuel costs.

Miners Not Getting Paid

A quick cursory reading of the show’s official website will tell you that Jack and Todd Hoffman have no finances to pay their miners. But if you dig a little bit deeper, you’ll find that everyone that show’s their face on the show is getting paid per episode.

Parker Schnabel, for example, is taking in $25,000 per episode and Monica Beets has a yearly salary of $175,000 for being on the show.

That’s a decent stack of cash.

Wonder if James Harness received anything like that before he was fired? Actually, was he ever really fired in the first place? Keep watching to find out.

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Highly Experienced Miners

Most of the miners you see on Gold Rush are actually highly inexperienced.

But this lack of experience ends up paying out in the way of creating more on-screen drama. Real miners wouldn’t make half the mistakes you see every episode. The stakes are too high and thus the learning curve is steep but when the miners on Gold Rush make a gaffe, it results in another entertaining episode of television. If they were truly messing things up as much as the show depicts then they wouldn’t be profiting in the way that they are said to.

The High Bar Mining Crew

On another episode from season 7, the team is seen trying to turn on a brand new dredge that they purchased for $1 million.

It’s quickly discovered that the piece of machinery has locks attached to the main power box preventing it’s operation.

Out of nowhere, a team of workers shows up from the High Bar Mine and insists that Hoffman and company hire them immediately or they won’t remove the locks off the dredge. So they conned themselves into work it seems.

If that doesn’t sound like a fictional ploy to spice up the narrative of a reality TV show then you’ve lost your marbles.

Todd Hoffman’s Pricey Operation

If you do the math, Hoffman is actually spending about ten times the amount he’s supposedly profiting on his gold for maintaining his mining operation.

Even though they only yielded 100 ounces one year, they then go right to work investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into machinery upgrades, hiring new people, buying more trucks and wash plants, digging a pond because they don’t have water access etc etc.

Then next thing you know, he’s got good ground and making $100,000 bets with some dude a couple of thousand miles away and yet he still can’t afford to pay his employees? None of it adds up.

None of it.

Hoffman Isn’t Just A Miner

Hoffman love’s to portray himself as just a hard-working guy whose sole mission is to make as much money as he can through his mining operations.

But according to Variety magazine, Hoffman has set up a production company in LA called Gold Standard Television with the intent to produce shows with Quote global appeal in a similar manner as Gold Rush. End Quote

Disagreements and Feuding

Throughout the series, you often see miners arguing with each other about one thing or another. Jimmy Dorsey revealed that producers actually direct the miners into the situations and that the fights are mostly scripted.

The concocted disagreements do indeed escalate into something real from time to time but it’s equivalent to putting two animals into a cage and prodding them until they fight each other.

Parker Schnabel isn’t Really Poor

If you take the show at face value then you’d believe that Parker was extremely impoverished and struggling to scrape up the money to cover the essentials.

In reality, he has a net worth as of 2020 of $10 million.

Jim Dorsey’s Departure

It was never Jim’s decision to leave the show. The whole ‘we gotta get gold in seventy-two hours’ situation that played out in the show was completely scripted by producers.

He would have stuck around but it wasn’t in the cards.

After his exit, he claimed that he broke his rib, was never paid for his work, and claimed that the entire show was scripted. Todd Hoffman and the Discovery both denied these allegations.

The Firing Of James Harness

Harness did an interview with The Bulletin where he said that his firing was completely dramatized. Todd never fired him even though that’s how the show portrayed it. There’s a scene where he says ‘I guess this where we part ways’, but he’s not even in the frame for the shot. The real reason was that he wasn’t even there. The whole narrative was concocted to rouse up more drama.

But really, at this point, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to viewers that most reality shows are either partly scripted or in the case of many, entirely fictitious ordeals dialing up the drama and pulling all the punches to grab audiences attention and score higher ratings. This doesn’t mean they are bad shows. Rather, it just means you should take it all with a grain of salt.

As far as Gold Rush is concerned, it appears that many elements that make up the show are based in reality with many exaggerated plot devices and lot’s of off-screen going-ons that the viewer isn’t privy too.

We’d love to hear from you. Do you think that Gold Rush is fake or is it just wildly dramatized but still what you would consider as being ‘real’? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

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