The California Gold Rush is what most people refer to when discussing the heyday of gold mining. Between 1848 and 1855, over 30,000 gold-crazed Americans moved to the “Golden” state to test their luck. The city of San Francisco grew from a population of 200 people in 1846 to nearly 36,000 by the early 1850s, if that helps you put things into perspective. That’s a ton of gold fever! Francisco Lopez’s discovery of a gold nugget in 1842 along a creekside just east of what is known today as Newhall, California was the beginning of gold mania in North America as we know it.
Mining operations in all corners of the globe are still digging for the precious metal. Just ask Todd Hoffman and the crew of Gold Rush; they have a hit TV series on the Discovery channel that revolves around mining. At last estimate, 187,200 tonnes of gold have been unearthed around the world. If you do the math (187,200 tonnes at $1300 per ounce), that’s a boatload of cash. That’s what Todd and his crew think too, and for eight seasons, he and the cast of Gold Rush have been trying to get their hands on as much as they can find.
Mining isn’t easy. Anybody who has ever worked on a mining crew will tell you it’s hard work. There’s no guarantee that the labor involved will ever pay off, either. There’s an abundance of money, knowledge, and time that go into each mining operation. Those that lack the experience need not apply; that is, unless you feel like throwing a ton of money down an empty hole. So, how can a show like Gold Rush find nuggets with an inexperienced crew, and basically no money? Well, execs can often make things appear on TV a certain way when in reality they’re much different.
15. How Much Of The Show Is Real?
What’s the point of making a reality TV show fake? You’d think that the Discovery channel execs would try to keep the “real” in reality, right? That doesn’t seem to be the case on the television show Gold Rush, though. In an interview with Edwin Waters at Oregon Gold News & Misc, a former cast member revealed that the television show is anything but real. He said, “It’s scripted from the beginning. They (producers) knew exactly what they wanted to see out of the program. Even me leaving was scripted, but in the way in which it happened was not. The plans were made, but the footsteps were ours.” That’s an interesting piece of information from a former cast member, don’t you think?
14. Todd Hoffman’s Tantrums Are Scripted
For those of you who have seen the show Gold Rush, crew leader and boss Todd Hoffman is a guy that many viewers could do without. If it’s not one problem, it’s another with Todd and his crew seems to spend a large portion of their time trying to fix his stupid mistakes. According to a cast member Todd manufactures the majority of those problems seen on the show on purpose for the cameras. That’s not cool when most people are tuning in to watch the hit series for its real-life characteristics. Apparently, there weren’t enough problems that could happen at a gold mining operation for the execs at Gold Rush, so they decided to create some more.
13. Jimmy Dorsey Was Only Paid A Total Of $3,000
There’s an endless amount of information on the internet in reference to what the cast members of Gold Rush have been paid for their hard work. Estimates range from $500 to $500,000 depending on what you’re reading. Many of the TV show’s fans agree that despite what ends up in the crew’s bank accounts, it isn’t enough compensation for their trouble. Jim Dorsey will agree with those fans if you ask him. From 2010-2011, Jim appears in the series for eight episodes. Todd Hoffman assured him that he would be paid $1,000 per episode, but failed to deliver on that promise. At last report, Jim claims that he’d only been paid $3,000 for his work at the mine.
12. A Bear Was Needlessly Killed
Problems with wildlife (bears) in Alaska presented a conflict for Todd and his crew, so they shot and killed one. Alaskan residents think it was the other way around, though, and they believed that their wildlife had something to fear from the show. The Oregonian reported, “Ryan Scott, a biologist for the Department of Fish and Game, said he received a few calls from viewers worried about the miners’ killing — or as his department puts it, harvesting — of the bear. Kerwin Krause, a geologist for the Department of Natural Resources, also said he thought the show unrealistically portrayed the dangers bears posed to the miners — with scenes of rustling bushes and fur flashed across the screen.” Officials concluded that killing the bear was unnecessary and a ploy for higher ratings.
11. The Alaskan Government Wanted Nothing To Do With The Show
Alaska had its share of problems dealing with the show. Alaskan officials and residents would have preferred never to have had to deal with the hit series in the first place. Residents from up north called government officials to complain and hoped that they could get the show banned from its borders. Naturally, that drama sparked controversy between Gold Rush execs and the people that live in Alaska. Unfortunately, the worried residents didn’t get their wish, but officials did fire back at Gold Rush producers by sending state and wildlife officials to the set. Why? They wanted to make sure that their state wasn’t going to look like a piece of Swiss cheese after Todd and his group of inexperienced miners were done digging.
10. The Film Crew Works Around The Clock
Associate producer Sam Brown revealed a little about what it was like working on the set of Gold Rush. It doesn’t sound like a job many people would want, honestly, especially when you consider the hours. Mr. Brown said, “The Gold Rush shoot was, without doubt, the most intense experience of my career and definitely the steepest learning curve. It never stopped, or even slowed down, for the whole four months I was out there. It wasn’t unusual to work seven days a week, and I slept with my boots on more times than I care to remember. But our production team was the best bunch of people I have ever worked with, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.”
9. Tony Beets Broke The Law On The Show
Gold Rush miner Tony Beets pulled a foolish stunt while filming the show that put a dent in his wallet, that’s for sure. The 57-year-old cast member was fined $31,000 by the Yukon territorial court for lighting a dredge filled with gasoline on fire. That doesn’t seem like a smart thing to do, does it? Yukon judge Peter Chisholm said, “polluters in the territory must be aware they will be treated seriously by the courts.” Additionally, CBC News reported, “Territorial government lawyer Megan Seiling had asked for fines in the $50,000 range, while defense lawyer André Roothman had suggested $14,000.” No matter how you look at it, a couple of thousand dollars is a big fine for anybody to pay.
8. The Cast Has Been Shot At
The Centennial State didn’t exactly accept Todd Hoffman and the Gold Rush crew with open arms when they decided to set up their mining operation in Colorado. As a matter of fact, they were shot at by a local resident. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but it appears this shooter is guilty. As reported, “Members of the Gold Rush crew told the Park County Sheriff’s Office that (Aaron) Borth flagged down their truck on County Road 14. They said Borth shouted obscenities and threats before pulling a handgun and firing four shots in the direction of their vehicles.” When Aaron Borth was arrested, the court documents declared that he “expressed his frustration with the mining that is going on around Fairplay.”
7. 316 Mining L.L.C. Has Been Fined $35,000
Todd Hoffman and his business 316 Mining have been in the news in a negative way recently. Shocking, huh? Starcasm.net reported that “an investigator hired by the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety (CDRMS) determined that 2.4 acres outside of the approved permit boundary had been affected and a hearing was set for January 25.” Todd Hoffman was fined because “the mining operation was operating without first obtaining a reclamation permit. The law states that violators are to be fined no less than $1,000 a day, or more than $5,000 a day, for each day during which a violation occurs — which in this case was 35 days. The Board went with the minimum fine of $35,000, plus $567.00 to cover the cost of the investigation.”
6. The Pressure Is Faked (They Get Paid Even If They Don’t Find Gold)
Mining for gold is a feast or famine proposition. Just ask any miner, when they don’t find gold they don’t make any money. The execs for Gold Rush would like you to believe that if Todd Hoffman and his crew don’t find gold, then they lose their hefty investments and don’t make a dime. When we watch the hit series, producers lead us to believe that just about every cast member is as close to being broke as a person can possibly be. Many cast members claim that they invested everything they owned to go mining for gold. That isn’t the case at all, and various news outlets estimate that each member of the show earns between $10,000 to $25,000 per episode.
5. The State Of Alaska Got Paid Per Episode
Who has ever heard of a state charging a television show money for the right to shoot footage on their soil? Well, if you haven’t, now you have because Gold Rush has been charged big money for the right to do so. Alaska billed the Discovery channel $200,000 per episode to film Gold Rush in their state. That adds up to around $2 million a year, if I’m not mistaken. It’s unknown how Alaskan state officials came to that number, but they didn’t seem to have a problem collecting the money. In 2015, gold mining in the state of Alaska accounted for over $1 billion in revenue and over 35% of the total from all mining operations. Obviously, the state wants their cut too.
4. Greg Remsburg Is A Recovering Alcoholic
In a 2012 interview with thefix.com, Greg Remsburg speaks up about his problem with alcoholism and confesses that he was previously in recovery (Alcoholics Anonymous) for the issue stating, “Having grown up in a bubble as a kid, I was raised to believe that certain things were right and certain things were wrong. Drinking was one of the things that were wrong. Neither of my parents drank, and I wasn’t exposed to it as a kid. But when I got to my senior year of high school, I realized drinking could be pretty fun. In my teens and early 20s, it was just for having a good time.” It sounds like he made the right choice and we hope he continues fighting the good fight.
3. Dave Turin Quit Because Of His Fight With Trey Poulson
The season finale fight that fan-favorite Dave Turin had with Trey Poulson was the main reason he left the show. Dave posted this message to his Facebook page, saying, “I want to take the time to say thank you to all you true fans, especially those that have written me with encouraging, kind words. It’s definitely not how I had expected my run with Gold Rush to end, but it is clear to me that it is time to move on. I have some new opportunities, so you just might see me in the future – God willing. Keep the positive posts coming my way; they really mean a lot to me. God bless you and yours, Dozer Dave.”
2. Mining For Gold Is Much Harder In Real Life
The execs for the television series Gold Rush want you to think that anybody can sell all their belongings and mine for gold. Even you! That happens to be far from the facts, though. In reality, mining for any precious metal requires years of experience, loads of cash, and an experienced mining crew to turn a profit. In the United States alone there are nearly 160,000 people employed in the mining industry. Each of them will tell you that the job’s dangerous and miners get injured, if not killed, every year. Todd Hoffman and his crew do have their share of problems on the show, but that’s because gold mining takes more than showing up on a claim and digging a bunch of holes in the ground.
1. Producers Cut Out The Positive Parts
We know that the producers of Gold Rush like to stir the pot and create problems between cast members. The film crew also makes every attempt they can at steering the cast into giving certain answers to drama-laced questions they want revealed on the show. “Loaded” questions that get asked on any television show in an attempt to initiate an angry response are pretty weak, if you ask me. After all, the people who are tuning into Gold Rush wouldn’t mind seeing a few of the positive aspects of mining for gold, right? That doesn’t look like it will be happening anytime soon, according to one former cast member who said Gold Rush execs intentionally cut out 90% of the good things that happen on the show.
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