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'Gold Rush' secrets are ‘Unearthed’ on Discovery Channel

Parker Schnabel and crew from Scribner Creek
Parker Schnabel and crew from Scribner Creek
Discovery Channel

Last night’s episode of "Gold Rush" was titled “Unearthed.” As the episode opened, never seen before scenes, and secrets were to be revealed, and the post-season hindsight admissions are heard.

Todd Hoffman chose to leave ground that produced for him 803 ounces in the prior season. As Todd chose to find a life-changing experience, Dave Turin had his doubts. What was not revealed before, was the Hoffman crew checked out a hot tip about a claim in the Klondike at Carmacks. Todd, Dave and Freddy Dodge tested a sample pan out of the creek and found five colors. Freddy’s brother Derek told them that ages ago, prospectors would find large nuggets there and when Todd asked how big; he handed him an eight-ounce nugget. Todd decided to turn his back on the Yukon and go for a higher reward in South America, where he knew there were both gold and diamonds.

In Haines, AK, then 18, Parker Schnabel left his family and beloved grandfather to strike it rich in the Klondike. However, Parker did not reveal how concerned he was about Grandpa John’s failing health. But Parker set a goal that was four times what he got the previous season; 800 ounces. As Tony Beets related, Parker wanted to beat the Hoffmans. However, Tony Beets threw Parker a curve ball early in the season when he required him to get a $600,000 bond, and without it, they would not be able to mine Scribner Creek. The bond covered the lease of the land and any discrepancies that might occur during the process. Parker at 18, has not even been approved for a credit card, much less a $600,000 bond. Parker called his father, who came through for him, but Parker felt that he was not being taken seriously, and had no choice but to play by Tony’s rules. Parker went there to prove he could do this on his own, but his pride was hurt that he had to rely on his family.

Before the season started, the Dakota Boys had a plan. Dustin would mine Cahoon Creek and Fred would stay at Porcupine. But it is now revealed that they did not have the paperwork to mine Cahoon, but Dustin felt that Fred was trying to derail his project. Fred did not reveal until now, that he needed Dustin in Porcupine because he was dealing with a life-and-death situation. His wife in North Dakota was seriously ill and Fred expected a call to attend her funeral. Two months into the season he got a call that she was in the hospital, and Fred asked the crew not to record the conversation. She told him that he had kids and grandkids to hold her hand, and for him to stay where he was, rather than hold her hand.

The Hoffman crew has their own opinions about Todd’s leadership abilities, but when he left after only five weeks in the jungle, it left them puzzled. Todd had his own opinion about viewers’ remarks and said that armchair quarterbacks can sit at home and say what they want.

As for Parker’s leadership abilities, he is still a rookie. He admitted to running his crew into the ground and the older men did not appreciate taking orders from a teenager. To keep his team from a mutiny, Parker gave them a cut of the gold. Although not seen before, some members did not last long enough to get on the show, some were fired and others quit. But Parker had to do it his way.

In the jungle, there were many moments of distress, but when they hired miner Tony Tavares, to help them, they got the news that his camp was broken into and his wife was murdered and his gold was stolen. Todd stated that it was not television bull crap, it was the real deal. Suddenly, the miners had to rethink why they were there.

In Porcupine Creek, when Fred decided to close up the glory hole, and Dustin convinced Fred to take one more shot, but the dredge did not work. Rather than follow Dustin’s intuition, Fred closed it up.

In Guyana, the miners believed that by being Americans and having the best equipment, they were invincible. Not revealed in the show, Dave had a meltdown; his frustration at the troubles in the jungle finally got to him. The heavy equipment was constantly stuck in mud and not working out as it did in the Klondike.

Although Dakota Fred’s work ethic is without equal, his leadership skills leave something to be desired. When Jeremy had a panic attack and took too many breaks, Melody voiced her displeasure. Dustin stated he would not ask Melody to return next season and knew Jeremy would not return either.

In Guyana, after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, the crew found diamonds worth less than the small amount of gold they procured from the jungle. It was a total loss.

In Scribner Creek, Parker hit the jackpot, and although they fell short of 1,000 ounces while the entire crew was there, and with the help of Rick Ness, Parker made over his thousand-ounce goal.

In Guyana, Freddy Dodge left mid-season. It is now revealed, that he left to mine Carmacks, where he went before the season with Dave and Todd. He knew the jungle was a futile effort and wanted no part of the failure. With the proper equipment, on proven ground, his hunch paid off. Carmacks was named after a former inhabitant whose discovery in 1896 triggered the Klondike Gold Rush. Hindsight reveals that had Todd listened to Freddy, they would have struck it rich, but chose the jungle instead.

Gene Cheeseman, Parker’s foreman hated the cameras, they either made him clam up or freak out. However, after all is said and done, Gene was the key player in Parker’s season.

With the new season around the corner, Dustin got core samples to send away for testing. Unfortunately, they were not as expected and mining there would be more dangerous than what it could produce. So the Dakota Boys will mine McKinley Falls. He showed how they plan to build a flume to divert the water, so they can mine the plunge pool, but Fred has his doubts that it will produce anything but bankruptcy.

Parker will be home with his family this coming season after proving his grandfather’s theory that there was gold at Smith Creek.

The future of the Hoffman crew is in jeopardy, as they have lost more than anyone can imagine. Dave will continue to mine for gold, but does not know if it is with the Hoffmans. As for what Todd intends to do, is to be determined.

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