Gold Rush Recap: Where Kids Act Like Adults and Old Men Act Like Jackasses

Today’s Friday–or as I’ve started calling it around my house, Fred-Day. As in Dakota Fred, the rottenest vermin in all of Alaska. Actually, I do not call it Fred-Day. I literally just made that up.

Anywhoooo, Friday’s mean “Gold Rush” around these here parts, and I’m plumb excited! I might have even just peed myself a little, which gives new meaning to the term Gold Rush, if you know what I mean. And, I think you do. Wink, wink.

OK, when last we left our intrepid little band of would-be millionaires, the prevalent air of uncertainty caused by the lackluster economy and heavy-handed government policies coming out of Washington had caused go-getters like the Hoffman Crue to take their fate into their own hands and strike out on a road paved with nothing but certainty-riddled success – gold mining. Because, really, there’s nothing more certain and secure than gold mining. Not risky at all.

They got booted out of the claim they spent all of last year working on, digging a glory hole (tee-hee). But as the narrator says, “they refuse to give up their dream, even without a claim to mine.” So here we are, episode three of the season, and the Hoffman Crue is heading north to Canada (less regulatory oversight and pesky environmental rules?), to the Yukon, to an unknown and untested claim. They are already 10 days into the 150 day mining season.

Meanwhile, back at Porcupine Creek – but before we get to that, it is fairly obvious to me at least, that the producers of Gold Rush are in fact worried that the Hoffman No Clue Crue will either implode or fail (again) because this season they are pursuing two other story lines in addition to the Hoffman extravaganza.

So back at Porcupine Creek, Dakota Fred (who is currently still crewless) is gleefully filling in the glory hole and otherwise destroying all of the Hoffman Crue’s work from last season. I don’t know what they did to that old man, but he is pissed!

Just down the road at the originally named Big Nugget Mine, we meet the true hero of the series, 17-year-old Parker Schnabel.


The smartest 11th grader in all of Alaska.


This kid is pure genius and the most mature person on this whole show. In one episode, he gives Fred a dressing down on diplomacy. He also goes head-to-head with his 91-year-old grandfather who has promised to turn over the operation to the new generation, but hijacks the mining crew for some road repairs, further putting our budding young entrepreneur behind schedule.

But young Parker has a pretty nifty idea to motivate his much-older crew to listen to him – he offers them a 5% share of whatever profits they pull in. That’s much better than the deal they were getting from Grandpa Schnabel and before you know it, they’re pulling gold out of them thar hills.

Up in Quartz Creek, Todd and crew buy a wash plant for $40,000 that has been sitting out in the open for the last six years. Not surprisingly, it needs a major overhaul. And they’ve basically got two days to do it since the only trucker that can move it is as popular as an easy girl at a dance. (He’s definitely more popular than Congress, but according to this chart, so is the IRS, the airline industry, lawyers and banks. Yikes. I don’t know why anyone runs for office. I really don’t.)

As you know, the way to get anything impossible done in an incredibly tight deadline is to give a rousing and inspiring pep talk, which is exactly what Todd does to his almost-fed-up crew. There is talk of cojones and representing all that is good and wonderful about America, the greatest country in the land (right behind Canada, where the gold is). And a “who’s with me” and a prayer, maybe, I dunno, I was kinda dozing.

Which brings us to episode four; day 21 of the 150 day mining season and the Hoffman Crue needs to build a new claim from scratch. We also discover that the whole season depends on the word of the claim owner. Seems that old Todd didn’t have time to do any soil tests, so no clue if there’s any gold potential.

There’s a disagreement between Todd and Jack on how to move dirt. It’s a silly disagreement because it seems quite clear to everyone that the old man doesn’t know what he’s doing and he’s making very deep tracks. But like any ornery old man who doesn’t know what he’s doing, but likes to sit atop tall, powerful equipment, Jack just walks off. Just gets in his truck and goes charging down the road to stay in a hotel for the night. Not leave, mind you. Just go and pout for the night without telling anyone where he’s at. That will teach them all. They’ll all be sorry now.

There’s a whole bunch of talk from Todd and Jack about disrespect, but honestly, I didn’t detect it, and I think it’s just nonsense. That old man is just crazy.

Todd sends one of his trusty crew, the elegantly mustached Thurber to chase after the old man, because that’s a great use of personnel and time. Thurber, by the way, is facing foreclosure back in Oregon. Just for a little perspective here. Oh, and he had JUST started a job at the beginning of the season which he has, apparently, abandoned to go back gold hunting. Just so you know.

Tom Selleck ain't got nothing on this 'stache.

More hijinks follow, including a Jack plan to drag the wash plant to its final destination through trees and mud. The plant, of course, gets stuck, but somehow they are able to get it free and finally in place. Really they just spent the majority of this episode creating drama between cranky old man and son.

Perhaps now the Hoffman No Clue Crue are ready to start mining? Somehow, I doubt it. Let’s see tonight!