Frontier Reality TV


I’m not much of a TV watcher and until GRIMM started this year (coolest paranormal series), I never watched any particular show on a regular basis. But my hubby makes up for my lack of tube time, recording a ton of shows all day, every day, to watch at his leisure. Tonight he was watching a backyard make-over show (he’s been building this massive patio structure in our backyard for the past two years–almost done!) when the words “frontier”, “pioneer”, and” reality show” drew my attention away from my computer screen. I had the hubby rewind the commercial (gotta love satellite TV) so I could get all the details. Don’t know how many of y’all get the DiY (Do it Yourself) Network channel, but if you do, you gotta check out this show!

Frontier House airs this Sunday.

Three modern families are dropped in the Montana wilderness. Together they build cabins, raise livestock and form a strong, yet dysfunctional community.

I don’t know if there will be more than the four episodes listed on the DiY website.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS:  (May 6)  Three families are chosen for one of the most extreme sociological experiments captured on film. They will shed their modern lives and step back in time to the Montana Frontier, circa 1883. Shock sets in as the pioneers start their journey.

PROMISED LAND:  (May 13)  After a tough trip back in time, the homesteaders arrive at Frontier Valley. The harshness of their new reality sets in. First task: building shelters. Daily chores test their will and character while stormy weather and personalities clash.

CRACKING UNDER PRESSURE:  (May 20)  Rumors fly about how some of our homesteaders have snuck in modern supplies, causing tensions to rise in already-strained relationships. Focus shifts from shelter to food as worries of starvation overshadow life on the frontier. A rare summer snow storm wreaks havoc on Frontier Valley.

FAMILY AFFAIR:  (May 27)  The children steal the spotlight, as they prove to be valuable resources for survival on the frontier. The pioneers realize they are not alone in the Valley. Lions, coyotes and bears make their presence known.

The show kicks off this Sunday night. I’m so glad for that recording feature on our TV because my baby boy turns 17 this Sunday and we’re christening that new patio structure that has soaked up so much of my hubby’s blood, sweat and tears.

As I’m in the midst of building my fictional town for a new series, I’m really looking forward to this visual glimpse into the past.  I recall a show similar to this on PBS six or seven years ago where three families were dropped off in Montana wilderness for three months and had to build houses and start storing up food and supplies for winter. Historians graded their progress at the end and proclaimed they all would have frozen or starved to death before spring. A lot of insight can be gleaned from watching these re-enactments. Though I mostly recall the cold storage box they had tied to a dock to keep milk and butter cold, and how their stockings were hard and crunchy in the morning and they beat them against a chair or something to soften them up before putting them on. I have yet to incorporate crunchy stockings into a romance novel 😉

I have a feeling this show is going to reinforce my appreciation for the comforts of modern times.



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18 thoughts on “Frontier Reality TV”

  1. What a fun new show. I remember Pioneer House on PBS years ago. It was fascinating. I don’t think we get the DiY network, but maybe it will show up on Netflix later on. I’ll have to watch for it.

    Have a wonderful time celebrating this weekend!

  2. Stacey, this looks very interesting. I don’t know if I get the DIY channel but I’m going to check. Like you, I don’t watch a lot of reality shows but I think I’d love this one.

  3. STACEY!!!!!! I need to watch this!!!!!!
    I’d have never heard of it if not for you.
    I think I can even find DiY. I’m excited.
    I need to write a reminder email to myself right now!

  4. Stacey,

    This looks like a fun show. But poor Montana, that’s all it needs is a bunch of greenhorns playing frontier. I lived there when PBS was doing their show and my favorite DJ called the people a bunch of doughnuts. :o) I love writing historical westerns, but not sure I’d want to live it!


  5. The commercials were intense, Linda. Starts off like those races when they opened the west, wagons barreling down into a valley. One wagon loses an axle and the guy and his kid go down. The boy, eight or so, looks all pitiful with a pouty face and says “I fell out of a wagon. This is the worst day of my life!” Poor kid.

  6. Oh this sounds like something I’d really enjoy watching but unfortunately I don’t get the DIY channel. Maybe I’ll be able to find it onlin e somewhere

  7. The PBS show was called “Frontier House” and the blurbs you have about the different episodes sound exactly like that show——I taped it when it was on PBS and have watched it several times since. I’ve always wondered if the participants took the lessons they learned through that experience into their everyday life, especially the kids. I believe it was taped in the summer of 2001 when June was cold here in the Northwest .

  8. Oh, and if this is the original PBS show DVD’s and VHS tapes used to be available from their catalog.

  9. It would be interesting to be part of this type of experiment. I know our family could handle it, but at my husband’s and my age, I’m not so sure it would be pleasant. We have two carpenters, a blacksmith, and a mason in the family. We garden. can, and dry. I can sew, everyone (even the kids) can cook over an open fire, and we are wise in the ways of nature.

    We could do it, but I’m not sure I want to change my comfortable bed, kitchen, and indoor plumbing for trying to start from scratch. We just may have to watch the show. We don’t record, but after the Amazing race finishes this weekend, Sunday evenings are free unless PBS starts something up.

    I hope your event and shelter christening go well.

  10. Thanks for that extra info, Hilltop Farmwife! The documentary videos are on Amazon and the segments have the same titles. So for those who don’t get DiY Network, there’s an option 🙂

    I’d only seen one of the later episodes on PBS and don’t remember much, so I’m looking forward to recording the whole series 😀

  11. Wow, that’s quite the family, Patricia 🙂 I remember my grandma telling the real measure of wealth was the size of your garden 😉

    Thanks for the good wishes, I’m looking forward to a fun family gathering.

  12. I would love to do this. Looks very fun.. How do I get on the show and participate, in this fun experament.. Steve

  13. Had to laugh when Steve called it a “fun experiment” — as I recall, when they interviewed the participants all the men had loved it and hated to go back, and all the women had hated it and couldn’t wait to go back. LOL! It had to do with the gender roles. The men enjoyed creating something out of nothing, tilling the land, taking ownership of all these great projects — but for the women, it was housework all the livelong day, with no modern conveniences to ease the pain. And the young girls eventually simply refused to wear the corsets.

  14. This is the exact same show that was on PBS 10 years ago. I remember it well. It is either the exact show being rerun as new or they were able to find families with the exact same names and situations! I do think that it has been re-edited with a new narrator, though. Wow!

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