By Thomas “Encyclopedia” Crawford
This is a new show on the History Channel about three men that live the mythic Mountain Man lifestyle. It follows three men, Eustace Conway, Marty Meierotto, and Tom Oar. Each man has carved a life for themselves off the grid, and out of the way of modern society. They each live off the land, surviving by their wits and using self-reliance to live life in some rough and harsh environments.
Eustace Conway lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains on some land he and his friends bought years ago. He did this after a vision that told him that he should live off the land instead of following a, “normal,” lifestyle. He hunts, grows his own food, and the only income he gets is firewood that he cuts himself and sells to pay liens on his land. He also takes on interns who are interested in learning to fend for themselves in the rustic lifestyle. It is a constant struggle as he tries to grow enough food, and hunt so he doesn’t starve during the winter months.
Marty is a man that started trapping at the young age of 8. When he was 25 he moved to Alaska, and has since become known as one of the greatest trappers there. He lives with his wife and daughter, yet spends weeks at a time in a one room log cabin 200 miles from civilization in Alaska’s northern range. The money he makes from trapping is what supports his family. Watch as he not only faces extreme cold, but also problems with his plane and his snowmobile. The most dangerous part of his daily life is avoiding becoming hunted. He jokes and laughs when he discovers that his cabin has been explored and inspected by a hungry bear while he was away. The show doesn’t hide the fact that the area he traps in is also filled with packs of wolves that don’t have a problem making Marty their next meal.
The last man is Tom Oar. He spent 28 years in the rodeo circuit. When his body started to give out he turned to trapping and tanning leather to support himself and his wife. For the last 40 years he and his wife have been working together to survive and thrive in Montana. This area is known as some of the harshest territory in the lower 48 of the US. Both Tom and his wife admit that they spend the entire year getting ready for winter, yet never seem to be fully prepared. Being that they are 100 miles from the nearest grocery store, they have to rely on trapping and Tom’s hunting skill to survive the harsh and long winters. One has to watch as Tom not only braves the cold and unpredictable winters, but also faces Grizzlies, not more then 75 yards from his home, and packs of wolves that aren’t afraid of humans.
This show is about self reliance and human ingenuity at its best. It shows the lives of three men that are completely different from the norm. These people are to be admired, because their daily lives would make the hardest worker in modern society collapse. Being a fan of this show and the men is easy, because they seem to be what every American strives to be, self-reliant in a modern world where that seems impossible. However, even though this show is interesting to watch, it is also entertainment. That is why it should be taken with a grain of salt.
Continued in “Mountain Men: Interesting Concept; Take with a Grain of Salt Part II”