A recent Reality TV
series on the Discovery Channel
detailing the trials and tribulations of a group of down on their luck family men who turn to gold mining in the hopes of finding large deposits of precious metal in order to get out of debt. Originally titled Gold Rush: Alaska
, the Alaska part was dropped for season 2 due to Todd Hoffman's decision to add a mine in the Klondike, reinforced by the Hoffman crew being kicked off the Porcupine Creek site.
Began airing in October of 2010
. Season 2 followed in 2011, and season 3 in 2012. Season 4, in October 2013.
Due to the on-site and on camera drama between the crew members, crew members and their handling of the machines
and with the sometimes questionable nature of the mining machines themselves
, the series eventually drifted into Docusoap
See also: Bering Sea Gold
for gold mining where the gold is found on the floor of the Bering Sea, just off Nome, Alaska.
This show provides examples of:
- Alaska: The mining was originally only happening in AK, but the Hoffmans' move to the Klondike widened the scope of the show. Season 2 featured 3 different mine crews, 2 of which were still in AK. The same mines are featured in seasons 3 and 4, with only Dakota Fred's crew remaining in Alaska in the fourth season.
- The Alleged Car: A number of mining machines are shown to be troublesome and breakdown-prone during the series. The low reliability rating of home-built wash plants counts here as they rely on these machines for their livelihood and frequent breakdowns and failures mean they are left waiting for repairs before they can resume catching elusive little flecks of yellow metal.
- Anachronism Stew: In recent episodes, of the short-range variety. The kind of continuity things nitpickers and DVR watchers will notice.
- In one episode, Parker Schnabel's very large dump truck can be seen in the background. It is only introduced as having been acquired in the next episode.
- In a different episode, Dakota Fred's 930 loader can be seen in the background, with a wheel and hub removed. It isn't until after the following commercial break that we see the breakdown that necessitates the tear down.
- Badass Beard:
- Todd and Jack Hoffman
- Tony Beets
- Badass Grandpa: John Schnabel has been mining his claim for over 20 years. He's in his 90's and has 65 years of experience as a miner.
- Badass Moustache:
- Bears Are Bad News:
- Played terrifyingly straight. Early on in the first season, it is mentioned by the narrator that the Porcupine Creek area is inhabited by both brown bears and black bears. They outnumber the humans by something like ten to one. They are occasionally caught on camera, and by the end of one episode, one of the marauding bears has been converted to a feast for the humans.
- During the Behind the scenes episode, we get to see that the Klondike has its own population of brown and black bears.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Many examples, particularly in season 2 where the miners have expressed agitation with the camera crews filming them during high-stress situations, such as when Dave Turin threw a track on the D8 bulldozer.
- Break the Haughty: What Dakota Fred seems to be going through during the second season.
- Camera Abuse: A few cameras do take a beating/soaking, but mostly it's more along the lines of camera man abuse. Though it's not seen until the behind the scenes episode early on in season 2.
- Canada, Eh?: Starting with Dakota Fred kicking the Hoffman crew off the Porcupine Creek claim in Season 2, The series has increasingly focused on the Klondike gold fields in Yukon Territory, Canada. As of season 5, there ore no active mines outside of this area featured on screen.
- Clip Show: Definitely. Especially in the 2nd season behind the scenes episode.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Tony Beets: Just about every sentence he says will have one or two profanities bleeped out.
- Cool Old Guy: John Schnabel is over 90. He still spends time actually working at the mine and survives a heart attack (his third) that happened during filming of the second season.
- Jack Hoffman is still pretty capable despite his age too.
- Cool Shades: Jack Hoffman is frequently seen wearing these.
- Distracted by the Sexy: In season 2, the mechanic, James Harness's girlfriend flies in from the Lower 48. He takes a break to spend time with her. Todd calls him on this.
- Duct Tape for Everything: Not only is this an Averted Trope, but, the aversion is lampshaded by both Parker and Fred when their machines develop leaks.
- Epic Fail: Season 4 for the Hoffman Crew. All of it.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Bears, bad roads, glacier-fed rivers, also the moving heavy machinery.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Played straight to varying degrees in different seasons.
- During the first season, the guys frequently lament that they are in danger of going into foreclosure on their houses back home. Failure to find any gold means going home not just broke, but deeper in debt than when they started. Unfortunately, by the end of season one, they have failed to find more than a few ounces of gold valued in the tens of thousands of dollars. They need more than 100 ounces worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Although they finally meet their 1000 and 2000 ounce goals by the end of season 5, after the "final" cleanouts, we learn that they need more gold to secure mining rights for the next season (Hoffman crew) or afford to buy a new claim (Parker Schnabel).
- Family Business: The Big Nugget mine was run by John Schnabel for decades before his grandson Parker took over.
- It's mentioned that a member of the Hoffman crew works in a family-owned business when he's not mining.
- Gold Fever: Actually mentioned by name at one point.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Todd and Jack Hoffman have a habit of using 'frick' (and variations thereof) instead of dropping F-bombs.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: The faces of the MSHA inspectors are blurred out.
- Huddle Power: The Hoffman crew frequently do this to pray, usually putting their hard hats together as well.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Dave Turin to Todd Hoffman. As the seasons go by it becomes increasingly apparent that Dave Turin is much more fit to lead a mining operation than the Hoffmans. By the end of the disastrous Season 4 for the Hoffman crew, Dave Turin strongly implies that he will run his own mining operation without the Hoffmans.
- Ill Girl: Early in the first season, one of the Hoffman girls comes down with something bad enough she needs to be airlifted to a real hospital in Anchorage.
- Jitter Cam: Any camera attached to the shaker part of the wash plant. The cameras attached to the excavator arm probably also count.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Dakota Fred gets served with this; kicking the Hoffmans out of Porcupine Creek, only for his home in Minot, North Dakota to be destroyed by a flood later on.
- Happens again when his mine is temporarily shut down by the Miner's Safety and Health Association for not only having a few safety violations, but for not having the proper documented miner's training. Parker Schnabel got shut down for the same reason though, and the viewers realize that the Hoffman's are just as vulnerable to the same thing.
- And again in Season 4 when he finally gets to the bottom of the "glory hole" he's been digging out for three years. It proves to contain only a few ounces of gold, far less than the hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth he was hoping for. A second attempt to excavate the remaining material proves so risky that he gives up on the site.
- Let Me at Him!: A member of the Hoffman crew wanted to have a 'talk' with Dakota Fred when it was announced that he was kicking them out of Porcupine Creek, and the others had to restrain him to keep him from getting at Fred.
- in the Clip Show:/behind the scenes episode Dave(the guy holding him back) said had the cameras not been there he might have let him go
- More Dakka: The very first episode of the series features the guys unloading a multitude of Handguns and rifles from a trailer. The AR15 best exemplifies this trope even if only mildly.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: This seems to be Fred's view of the MSHA inspectors during season 2. They put in a second appearance in season 3.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Dakota Fred is shown shooting tin cans with one while waiting for the rest of his crew to show up at Porcupine Creek.
- Road Trip Episode: Each of the first 4 seasons opens with the miners traveling from their homes to get to the gold mines in the far north.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Happens several times in season 2, with members of the Hoffman team walking off the mine out of frustration. Even one of Dakota Fred's crew pulled this on him. Most cases result in the miners being talked into coming back later on though.
- And again in Season 4: the Hoffman crew members desert their posts when, in Todd's absence, they discover that the site they're mining has already been worked by a previous crew.
- Smug Snake: Dakota Fred, without question. He shows nothing but contempt for the Hoffmans in both seasons, and when he takes over the Porcupine Creek operation in the second season he doesn't show much compassion for his own crew either.
- Spin-Off: Seems to have spawned the series Bering Sea Gold, which seems to be Gold Rush meets Deadliest Catch. Interseason specials Gold Rush: The Jungle and Gold Rush: South America featured the Hoffman crew's exploits prospecting in South America. Jungle Gold featured a totally unrelated group from Utah mining in Ghana in western Africa. Bamazon features yet another unrelated group from Alabama, prospecting in Brazil's Amazon Basin.
- Stuff Blowing Up: With the near constant association between mining and the use of explosives in the pursuit of mineral extraction, it is surprising that it took until season 3 to feature a large limestone outcropping being reduced to gravel.
- Team Pet: The Hoffmans have an Australian shepherd named Blue that's often seen wandering around the mining site at least once an episode. Even became part of the opening sequence in the 2nd season.
- V8 Engine Noises: The sound of a carbureted V-8 engine that doesn't want to stop can often be heard when various large, diesel engine powered machines are shown being shut down. They could not possibly all make exactly the same noise at shutdown.
- Wild Card / Turn Coat, (without the good and evil stuff)
- Two miners previously seen working for the Hoffmans prior to Season 4 work for Parker in Season 4.
- Fred Dodge, a mining equipment professional, consults for both the Hoffmans and Parker in season 4
- Wild Hair: Tony Beets!