PBS Reality Show The Frontier House: 19th-Century Life in Montana

The PBS reality show The Frontier House has contestants recreating life during the 19th century in Montana.
By Sarah Beth Cavanah
April/May 2002
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The PBS reality show The Frontier House recreates life in 19th century Montana.
PHOTO: PBS
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Learn about the exciting new PBS reality show The Frontier House.

"Survivor." Competing six-person tribes play memory games to gain chocolate from manipulative host-god. "Real World:" Unemployed 20-somethings with absolutely nothing in common live in multimillion-dollar luxury and argue about racial connotations of bird names. "Big Brother:" Antisocial strangers cohabitate in a sparse, barrack-style house and do . . . well, not a whole lot.

The recent spate of reality television shows hasn't exactly lived up to the "real" part. Which is perhaps why PBS has chosen to label its new reality show, "The Frontier House," a six-part "experiential history."

The PBS reality show "The Frontier House", premiering on May 1, follows three families as they try to mimic 19th-century life in Montana, using only tools and technology that would have been available to period homesteaders.

Challenges on the show are unscripted: a June snowstorm, forest fire and unanticipated weight loss are a few. And although there are some unrealities — the families don't have to face a Montana winter — the show should be full of entertaining, practical information for modern-day homesteaders.

The Green Gazette is written by Sarah Beth Cavanah except where noted.








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