Reasons Why Gold Rush Is Totally Fake

Gold Rush follows a group of miners visiting strange new locations, meeting new people, and then mining the heck out of the ground. It's an actual business, hardcore mining for real. Except ... it turns out that not everything that happens is for real. Yep, let's rip away another soft comfort in this world and expose Gold Rush for the callous cash grab it really is.

The show is harshly edited to make heroes and villains

Gold Rush has a lot of characters, some good and some ... not so good. You'd think if you met them on the streets, the people would be like what you see on-screen. But not so! The show's heavily edited to make villains and heroes out of the cast members.

One former cast member said that at least 90 percent of the good things he did on the set were cut, never to be shown to the public, just to make him "a character." Not that this is surprising for reality television shows, but still, attempting to turn miners working together into bad guys and good guys, like they're pro wrestlers, is a bit strange. You don't see Mythbusters pulling that crap, do you?

People act out for camera time

Now, most television shows that feature businesses do one of two things: either stage them (like Pawn Stars) or film around the clock, every single second (like Deadliest Catch). However, the Gold Rush crew likes to take it a bit, well, easier. Instead of filming all the time or having everything broken down to their bones, this show just kinda films whenever they feel like. Laziness: the ultimate reality!

So, what's a wannabe star to do? You can't just hope the camera crew decides to follow your adventures that day. Nope, you have to act out. Now, it's not super weird to act out for attention — we've been doing it since we were toddlers — but it is a bit strange that a bunch of grown men on a series about mining for shiny gold will act like complete jerks just so the shiny camera will focus on them some more. Of course, it's partially the crew's fault. Why don't they just film more? How the heck does the crew manage to capture everything? That bit of business actually brings us to our next point! See ...

The show refilms scenes and lines

So, with a crew that isn't working all the time, and with a show that doesn't operate off a strict script, how does the camera crew manage to capture all the white-knuckle drama, all the suspenseful mining, and all the mess and fuss that goes into an episode of Gold Rush? Simple: they don't.

Yeah, the crew doesn't actually manage to capture everything that you see on-screen. So, what's going on? Is this some really advanced CGI? Nope, even easier! The crew simply makes the cast reshoot the action. For instance, did the crew miss a scene where something awesome and exciting happened? Just make the miners redo it! Did the sound guy mess up a bit and didn't catch a really good line? Just make the pickaxe crew say it again!

Wow, this is so simple. If only all reality show producers realized they could just make people do and say whatever they want — maybe write it down in some kind of script? Nah, that would never fly. Scripted TV shows, puh-lease.

The miners get paid, despite what the show insists

Gold Rush's premise is simple: inexperienced would-be goldminers in "dire straits" go north to scrounge for treasure in an Alaskan mine. According to the show's official website, Todd and Jack Hoffman "have no financial means to pay" the miners, which is an obvious lie. However, even if it were true, Todd and Jack's financial situations have no bearing at all on whether the miners will be paid.

By law, participants on reality TV shows are paid actors (unless they're bit background people and give their consent not to be). It's a job, after all, and it can be a pretty lucrative one at that! While there are discrepancies about how much Gold Rush actually pays its miners, no one (save for the show, apparently) disputes that the stars are paid for their time and work. Hell, they might be paid actors playing down-and-out miners — as far a cry from being unemployed or underemployed as humanly possible.

Being a Alaskan gold miner is way more complicated than the show presents

The show's prefabricated drama and scripted scenes misrepresent the harsh realities of Alaskan gold mining. Mining precious minerals isn't merely the dirty job Discovery makes it out to be — it's a dangerous job, too, meaning partly staged disagreements with coworkers are the least of a miner's concerns. Mining requires patience, scientific expertise, perseverance, and a willingness to brave the elements.

Come to think it, why did the series leave Alaska for the Canadian Yukon? Well, for one thing, the Alaskan government wanted no part of Discovery's reality TV project. As one Alaskan official put it, "You can't just come up here and tear through rivers, shoot bears and dig trenches." Environmentalists, as well as mining industry leaders, worried that the show would attract inexperienced, down-on-their-luck treasure hunters to the area. Environmentalists worried about habitat destruction, pollution of waterways, and unlawful dumping of industrial waste, while others simply fretted that these people would be in completely over their heads, take unnecessary risks, and injure themselves or others, leading to lawsuits and lost profits.

Having experience can mean the difference between life and death in a mine shaft. Explosives, falls, exposure, asphyxia, crushing injuries, cyanide poisoning (yes, that cyanide), and suicide due to vocation-related post-traumatic stress disorder claim the lives of many a miner every year. And while following all the rules and knowing what you're doing can certainly make the job safer — increases in OSHA compliance led to just 77 mining deaths in 2015, versus 615 mining-related deaths in 1994 — can you trust a bunch of rookies and reality stars to follow all the rules, all the time? Probably not.

People are forced to leave

Normally, if a cast member storms off at the end of an episode, they'll be back — bigger than ever — a few episodes down the road. Not so with Gold Rush! One former cast member isn't exactly a former cast member of his own volition — he says that his exit was planned, albeit somewhat loosely.

Basically, he was apparently supposed to leave in episode four, but actual real-life circumstances stopped him. So the producers finagled a bit, manipulated everything around, and pushed him to leave in the sixth episode, after giving him three days to find gold and continually pushing him to leave if he couldn't do so.

Look, we get controlling the drama a little bit, but literally forcing people out of their show? That's a bit too far.

The show attempted to get in trouble with the law because ratings

The people behind Gold Rush are so controlling of their show, they actually tried on purpose to get in trouble with the law. See, the show has done dozens of things that seem downright illegal, including killing a freaking bear. However, beforehand — since the show is somewhat planned — the producers have gotten either a permit or permission from the government to do it. But that's a bit boring, so the show decided to go wholehog and see how much trouble they could get into, naturally making sure to capture it all on camera!

At one point, the show diverted a small river without permission, and a biologist was sent to observe. The producers, according to a representative for Alaska's Department of Fish and Game, were clearly hoping the official would slap them, on camera ... with a fine. Though ana ctual slap would've made for fine TV too. No dice, though, the biologist cleared them and then left without incident. Sorry, gang — looks like crime doesn't always not pay.