- “Alaska: The Last Frontier” has revealed interesting behind-the-scenes stories over its 11 seasons, breaking the reality TV mold.
- The Kilcher family faced hunting violations and was fined for illegally hunting a Black Bear from a helicopter.
- The show may portray danger, but in reality, the Kilchers are always surrounded by a film crew and have access to medical treatment if needed.
Alaska: The Last Frontier has remained popular for years, but there are some behind-the-scenes secrets to discover. Throughout eleven seasons, Alaska: The Last Frontier has showcased that there’s a lot more to Alaska than salmon fishing. The show chronicles the lives of the Kilcher family as they live off the land on their 600-acre homestead outside of Homer, Alaska.
While Alaska: The Last Frontier hasn’t been renewed for season 12 yet, the popular show has broken the familiar reality TV mold by giving viewers a peek into what it’s like to live the hard life in one of the world’s most remote regions. The series aired eleven seasons and over 150 episodes, with plenty of fascinating behind-the-scenes stories coming to light over its decade-long run.
The Production Company Was Fined For Hunting Violations
There are several laws in each state dealing with when, where, and how bears can be hunted, but it seems the Kilcher family either didn’t know of these or disregarded them completely when they took to the air to take out a Black Bear.
It is illegal to hunt from a helicopter in Alaska, and, seeing as they shot footage and a former member of the production company tipped off Alaska State Troopers about it, the family was charged. Wilma TV Inc., a subsidiary of Discovery, was also charged in the hunting violation, as were Atz and Cristina Kilcher. The charges were dismissed in a deal that resulted in a $17,500 fine.
Atz And Jewel Had A Rough Relationship
Atz Kilcher’s famous daughter, Jewel, has had a few things to say about her father over the years. Though she has appeared on the show, there were some significant issues when she was younger. In her book, “The Architecture of All Abundance: Seven Foundations to Prosperity,” the singer/songwriter describes her difficult upbringing at the hands of her father. She asked for his permission before publishing the tale of the abuses she suffered as a girl who left home at 15.
While she admits they have a “great relationship” now, her father’s experiences during the Vietnam War and abuse during his childhood made her home a toxic environment. Her mother left the homestead when Jewel was only eight, and life was difficult, but she has forgiven her dad. The two have developed a relationship she is now comfortable discussing in public.
The Kilchers Are Never In Any Real Danger
As is often the case with reality television, most of what is presented is fictitious. Many episodes attempt to spin mundane occurrences into life-threatening accidents, but the truth is often much less attractive.
Not only are they surrounded by a film crew, but the people on this show—and other shows like it—can also be rushed to a hospital or given life-saving treatment should the worst happen. While it certainly would make headlines, Discovery isn’t likely to air a grizzly documentary of a real family freezing to death.
The Kilchers Are Only Twelve Miles From Civilization
The Kilcher Family Homestead seems about as far from civilization as any human can get on the series. That’s not the case, and while their 600-acre plot of land is undoubtedly large and removed from city life, they are closer to civilization than many realize. If the Kilchers decided to abandon their life of rugged living, it would be just a short trip to the nearest city of Homer, Alaska.
Homer is a small town of about 5,000 people, about 218 miles southwest of Anchorage. Homer was only incorporated in 1964, so it’s a relatively new city, but it sports a Safeway Food Store, various schools, a public library, two newspapers, and a few radio stations. It’s a small American town with whatever the Kilchers need to survive should they choose to go there.
Atz Lee Kilcher Was Hospitalized For Serious Injuries
Living on the homestead can be challenging, but Atz Lee and his family seem to manage. Still, there is the risk of injury, and he is no stranger to it. In 2015, Atz Lee was in an accident while hiking in Otter Cove. He fell and broke his arm, shoulder, ankle, and hip.
He also crushed some ribs and punctured both of his lungs. He was seriously injured, and his continued participation in the television show was questioned for a while, but he pulled through. Thanks to the support from fans and his wife, Jane, Atz Lee was able to make a full recovery and return to the series.
Jewel Was Once Homeless
When Jewel left home at 15, she went from living on a homestead with a large family to being homeless. Initially thinking she would only be in that situation for a couple of months, she struck out and ended up living in her car for a year. She worked odd jobs when she could get them but found it difficult to get hired without an address to put onto her job applications. Instead of letting her existence get her down, she applied her troubles to her music, which helped her climb out of homelessness.
She has spoken about her upbringing helping her since the pioneer lifestyle she grew up in helped her survive independently. As an adult and a successful singer/songwriter, she has devoted her time and money to helping young women who suffer some of the indignities of homelessness.
Jane And Atz Lee’s Children Aren’t A Part Of The Show
Jane and Atz Lee do have children, but Jane is allegedly very against having them appear on the show. This brings up an odd dichotomy, as the children are presumably a major part of the couple’s lives, but they never appear on a show made partially to chronicle their lives.
Ultimately, it’s a decision two parents made about respecting their children’s privacy. Perhaps, when they are older, they may choose to appear more often, but that seems unlikely given what Jane has said about them.
Alaska: The Last Frontier Is Scripted
Unfortunately, while an unscripted documentary-style series seems interesting, the fact of the matter is that Alaska: The Last Frontier is pretty fake. It’s not like a standard scripted show; the producers don’t necessarily feed them dialogue. It’s more about establishing a situation that needs to play out. Reality shows have been doing this for years, and Alaska: The Last Frontier is no different.
Jewel And Her Mother Are Estranged
Atz’s ex-wife is no longer in contact with her daughter, Jewel. Jewel was only eight when her mother left the family and the homestead, but they maintained contact. Jewel was left to grow up in a home with an abusive father for seven years before she left home. Her relationship with her dad has improved, but her relationship with her mother only deteriorated following a heartbreaking realization.
Lenedra Carroll came back into Jewel’s life when her career picked up. She even picked up the reigns as her manager until things went south in 2010. It took her a few years to realize it, but, as detailed by The Huffington Post, her mother had been stealing from her. Jewel fired her mom and severed all ties. The two remain estranged to this day.
Filming In Alaska Is Popular Due To A Tax Credit Policy
Alaska: The Last Frontier is one of 20 reality television shows set and filmed in the 49th state. This is thanks in part to a tax credit policy that came into being thanks to another popular series, Deadliest Catch. At the time, it was believed that creating a tax credit would bring more jobs to the state, but it resulted in out-of-state film crews coming in to take advantage. The result has been shows like Alaskan Women Looking for Love, the popular Alaskan Bush People, and several fish-out-of-water series.
Alaska now boasts the largest number of television series per capita than any other state. Given that the state is only home to some 735,000 people, the massive influx of television series taking advantage of tax credits and the wide-open spaces has brought in some money while highlighting the state’s natural beauty.