Debuting in August 2010, Swamp People is a History Channel Reality Show that details the life and times of various Cajun dwellers in different sectors of the Atchafalaya River Basin swamp in Louisiana during one specific and important time of the year for them: the state's 30-day alligator-hunting season. Using their own wits, experience, equipment and luck, the hunters are on a race to bag enough alligators to net themselves enough money for their yearly income and be rid of the beasts before the population explodes and threatens locals. But that's not to say that the show is all serious business. In between the hunting and history lessons, the swamp has its own share of side-stories, oddities, and other various activities.
Ten complete seasons have aired so far; the eleventh premiered in January 2020.
Provides examples of:
- Berserk Button: Shown to happen often due to various circumstances against the hunters, from forgotten equipment, to a mess-up on the boat, to poachers.
- Catch Phrase / Insistent Terminology: "Quarter-sized kill spot."
- Troy's Catch Phrase is basically screaming "SHOOT 'IM, _____!" over and over the entire time he's got a gator on the line.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Most of the swampers are true believers in what they call "The Code Of The Swamp"... that if you can help your neighbors you will, if someone needs your help you give it to them, you don't infringe on another swamper's property, and you expect the same treatment in return. The show routinely shows them practicing what they preach (especially in the aftermath of the big storm), usually with a touch of Think Nothing of It at the end.
- One of Troy's old friends dies, prompting the man's hunting partner to come to Troy for help filling the rest of his tags. Despite having just as many tags of his own left and only a few days left in the season, Troy almost immediately agrees.
- Continuity Nod: A given, since both seasons of the show correspond with two separate alligator seasons.
- Downer Ending: Various episodes end with one hunter or another not netting the required amount of alligators.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Leading from the Downer Ending mentioned above, often it has the depressed hunter at one of the local bars in their area.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Besides alligators, some episodes have the hunters going out in other hunting trades, like hunting snakes, frogs, or wild boars.
- Killed Off for Real: On May 14 2012, Mitchell Guist, one of the locals at the swamp (Who with his brother Glenn, were regulars in Season 2 and 3) died in an accident. It is unknown how the rest of the season will proceed without him.
- After a (mostly) private period of mourning, Glenn has returned as Liz's newest partner.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Though the shown has made it clear that alligator hunting is dangerous, special mention goes to one hunter, Terral Evans, who catches alligators...at night, and with his bare hands.
- Like Father, Like Son: Since the Cajuns have resided in the swamp for more than a generation, it is natural. Examples include: Troy Landry & his son Jacob (Along with Troy's own father Pappy), Junior Edwards & his son Willie, "Trapper" Joe Lafond & his stepson Tommy, and R.J. Molinere Jr & his son Jay Paul.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Apart from the hunters, there is also the hunters' boat crew, families, etc.
- Out of Focus: Some of the hunters get less attention in some seasons... likely because they just didn't have much remarkable happen to them, or they were taking it easy that season, or have decided to focus on other pursuits, and so on. Generally the show will add at least two new sets of hunters every season to compensate for this.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: It's doubtful that History Channel would be so eager to make a show about deer hunters. Since it's alligators most people aren't going to be all that bothered.
- They have actually done exactly that. The show Chasing Tail, about suburban deer hunters, now follows Swamp People.
- Retired Badass: Glenn Guist apparently was one, not having hunted alligators in over eleven years. When he joins Liz so that he can get active again after his brother's death, he shows that the break hasn't dulled his skills much.
- Rule of Three: : After Junior Edwards injures Willie with a gunshot for the third time in as many seasons, Willie quits.
- The Smurfette Principle: Though some of the wives and friends of the hunters have been featured in the show, Liz Cavalier, Troy Landry's sharpshooter in Season 2 (Branching off on her own in Season 3), is the only female hunter in the show.
- Though it doesn't quite hold true, since Liz's new partner in season three is a woman as well.
- And in season four, Liz's partner is her daughter.
- Supreme Chef: When making a wager with the Texans over who can get the bigger gator, the Texans offer up a rifle holster worth thousands of dollars and Troy offers to... cook up a dinner of alligator jambalaya. The Texans consider this an equitable bet.
- The Unintelligible: As there are a wide variety of Cajun accents of varying thickness and styles, often spoken while motors are revving, gators are thrashing, and various other background noise, many of the speakers are subtitled despite speaking English.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Sometimes with the father-son hunting teams, but it is more apparent with "Trapper" Joe Lafond and his stepson Tommy.