Last night’s episode of "Gold Rush" gave fans a recollection of the previous season of this show prior to the season start on Friday, October 25. The episode was titled “The Million Dollar Season.”
They recall how the four crews fared in Alaska and the Yukon in search of this prized element that has been a symbol of wealth before the recording of time. Prior to the last season, Todd Hoffman predicted a million-dollar season, and to make this possible; Todd and Dave Turin split into two teams to better their chances. With investors breathing down his neck, Todd had to do whatever to make this happen.
In southeast Alaska, a seventeen-year-old mine boss, Parker Schnabel wanted to prove that age did not matter as he led his team on a mission to bring home the gold; his grandfather’s legacy.
In Porcupine Creek, the Dakota Boys, Fred and Dustin Hurt had their work cut out for them with the snowpack from the worst winter in fifty years. Their season target of 160 ounces was in jeopardy from the start. Their new plan included pumping out the glory hole. When a helicopter landed, a man from the U.S. Geological Survey took the guys for a ride to show them how much snow was in the area and when the weather warmed up, it could be the worst flooding ever in the entire area. This could cause massive damage, and all of their equipment could be washed into the river. When Fred told the man, he was hoping to drain the glory hole, he was told it was not advised at this time.
Parker Schnabel is in his second year running the Big Nugget mine. Last season, his 300-ounce goal fell short, but 192.26 ounces was enough to ensure another season. The melted snowpack made roads treacherous and impassable. Parker decided to build a road to the top of Smith Creek hill using the profits from his first 80 ounces of gold.
Todd stayed at Quartz Creek and Dave and his crew tackled the new claim at Indian River. Between the two teams, they proceeded to see which team could outdo the other. Team Turin at Indian River had a running wash plant, but at Quartz Creek, things were grim. The sophisticated trammel that Todd ordered did not arrive yet, forcing them to run their old barely-usable little blue that seemed to be losing more gold than collecting. When Jason Otteson, their chief investor arrived, he was not happy to see the men idle. When he called Todd, he was ready to pull the plug on the whole operation. He gave Todd three weeks to get 100 ounces or the operation was over.
At Porcupine Creek, they could not pump out the glory hole. After 75 days, their season target of 160 ounces only got them 8.5 ounces. Fred then found a hollow in the bedrock, and his intuition told him it contained gold; he went for it, against Dustin’s suspicions. Fred was right; they found another 18.7 ounces there.
In the Klondike, they already had 30 ounces of gold, and Todd’s super wash plant finally arrived. After twenty-minutes of the first run, they spotted a serious problem; the motor was smoking because the horsepower was not high enough to handle the load. Waiting for a new motor could take weeks. With Jason on his way, and Indian River with 93 ounces of gold, they were still seven ounces short of pulling the plug. They had to ask the Turin crew to find them seven more ounces to salvage the operation. Finally, they hit the one hundred and saved the season.
Parker was still trying to salvage his operation at Smith Creek, but Big Nugget had only produced the 80 ounces of the 300-ounce target. When they started drilling, they hoped to reach bedrock within fifty feet, but at 88 feet, Smith Creek was just too deep to mine. Sadly, he had to give his beloved grandfather the bad news, as this was his hope for the future. When he went to see him, his health had deteriorated, and he was headed to the hospital. Parker could not shatter his dream.
At Quartz Creek, the new trammel was a complete bust. When Jason arrived again, he saw the operation at a standstill and Todd a dejected man. He advised him to cut his crew. Not wanting to do this, he called a meeting and decided to shut down Quartz Creek and keep Indian River running day and night without sending anyone home.
At Porcupine Creek, the Dakota Boys finally passed their break-even point and here hoping for redemption when Fred broke his ankle and now in excruciating pain and out for the rest of the season.
At Smith Creek, Parker was running out of places to dig and his 161 ounces fell short of the 300-ounce goal. As the winter was arriving, he was called to an emergency meeting with his mother and grandpa. His mother showed him all the bills she was unable to pay. Parker had another chance to pay off his debt and went to work. Overnight, the Alaskan winter hit hard, shutting down the season.
At Indian River, the Alaskan winter was also a threat, but Jack Hoffman knew that back in the 1800s the miners built fires in the pits to thaw out the land. When Dave Turin told Jack that a campfire would not do it, Jack told him it would be the fires from hell; and hell it was.
At Porcupine Creek, Fred pushed through the pain and continued to dig just 21 ounces short of their goal. The bottom of the glory hole was solid rock and Fred’s equipment could not get him any deeper. Dustin decided to dredge the glory hole in a last shot to find the elusive goal. In the end, they made their goal with two ounces to spare.
At Smith Creek, Parker’s final tally brought in over 192 ounces; another two ounces over the goal and Parker returned the key to Big Nugget to his grandfather for good. Parker will be mining elsewhere in the next season.
For the Hoffman crew, their final tally was 803 ounces, not quite the thousand they hoped for, but a whopping amount nonetheless.
This season, Parker will go it alone in the Klondike in search for his future, but faces rebellion from those who reject authority from someone so young. The Dakota crew will be exploring remote uncharted grounds in Alaska pitting father against son. And the Hoffman crew will be on another continent facing more dangers than cold weather in the jungles of Guyana on season four of "Gold Rush."
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