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'Gold Rush' hears ‘Go Big or Go Home’ on Discovery Channel

Last night’s episode of "Gold Rush" was titled “Go Big or Go Home.” As the episode opened in Scribner Creek, the weather report in Dawson announces five degrees and below zero that night, and it is only October. Parker and Rick Ness decided to brave the cold and permafrost and stay in the Klondike to bring in their total to 1,000 ounces for the season. With just 164 ounces, they will give it all they can, but the Klondike will always fight back.

Checking the Pan for Gold
Wikimedia Commons

As Parker and Rick continue to bring in more paydirt from Fantasyland, a man named David Miller comes looking for Parker. David loaned Parker his monitor for seven days, two weeks ago. Without the monitor, Parker has no way of getting through the Fantasyland permafrost. However, a promise is a promise, as David takes back his monitor. The next-day Scribner Creek is at a standstill, and Parker is sounding more like Tony Beets in his expletives. Rick decides that with the dirt Little Blue is sitting on, there must be some gold around the old wash plant. They agree it will take a few days to clean it up, and proceed to start moving the old wash plant, not an easy job for just two guys. As Parker tries to lift it with a chain, it snaps, and they almost lose the plant. Rick does not want to die trying to move the equipment, and another stronger chain does the job.

As they spend the rest of the day moving all the dirt, Rick uncovers a large chain, an indication that the ground has been mined previously. So with that dirt and the rest of the Fantasyland dirt, they start the clean out. Their effort brings them 45 ounces and 119 short of the goal. They prepared all the equipment for the winter, before they return home, then Parker receives a phone call from his mother. Grandpa John is in the hospital, as the signal weakens during the conversation, the call ends with Parker facing a conundrum. Does he stay and make his grandfather proud of his 1,000-ounce accomplishment and face the fact that he may never see him again; or go home? With very little Parker can do at home, his parents convinced him to stay put for now.

As Parker and Rick inspect an old map Tony Beets gave them at the beginning of the season, he sees an area where he may find more gold. Parker spent five hours cutting a test trench and spotted something unusual; a layer of white sand. Tony told him it is white channel sand and those who found this previously, did very well. Parker could use some extra mining help, and Tony tells him to go into town and try his luck. As he heads into Dawson, most of the businesses are already closed.

As Rick is manning the operation alone, he nearly tips over the dozer as he overextends the bucket. Early in the morning, Parker is up and busy working. A test pan showed fifty colors, which is much more than the previous cut. As they fire up the wash plant, they are hopeful they can find the other 119 ounces and leave. Regardless of the total, the weather does not care about their aspirations and just could end the season for them.

Without more people, Parker is struggling. As he goes to Tony’s home, his wife Minnie knows of someone who could help; it is Tony, who she stated sits on his behind all day and should help the kid. As he sits behind a sign in the kitchen that reads; “I’m the Boss, My Wife Said I Could Be.” Tony agrees to give Parker a day and a half, but he is not an employee, and Parker is not his boss; Minnie is.

As Tony shows up to help, he tells Parker he is not digging deep enough into the bedrock, and takes the helm of the dozer and starts digging. With his years of expertise, he knows where and how far to dig. With Tony’s help, they ran from fifty years to a hundred and fifty yards an hour. As they work late into the night, darkness is upon them as the last load goes into the hopper. As Tony says good night, he knows Parker grew up a lot this summer, and from living in the Klondike for thirty years, he and Minnie will be heading to Arizona in a few days.

Parker decides to sluice for two more days, just to make sure they got to their goal. As the pull up alongside the wash plant, it is covered in icicles. Their only hope is what is already in the mats. As they dig them out after using torches. One bucket is all they got, and Parker will not know the result until he drives the 800 miles back to Haines. As he and Rick hug good-bye, they both deserve a good trip home. Parker has an easier trip home, knowing that his grandfather is out of the hospital and back home.

When he arrived home, his father and grandfather were on their way home from Seattle, and not there yet. So he headed to the shed to clean it out. As his grandfather and dad arrived, it was time to weigh it, and the final total was 1,029 ounces for his rookie year. This mother lode was more gold than John Schnabel has ever seen at one time, and more gold than the Hoffman crew has gotten in four seasons of mining. Congratulations, Parker!

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