Frontier House

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[edit] General Information

History Documentary hosted by Kathryn Walker, published by PBS in 2002 - English narration

[edit] Cover

Image: Frontier-House-Cover.jpg

[edit] Information

The Year: 1883. The Place: The Montana Territory. The Challenge: Blizzards, hunger, scorching sun, forest fires, the neighbors, and more ... Three modern families experienced life on the American Frontier. If you think you know everything that happened ... You don't.

[edit] The American Dream

The families are shown arriving in Virginia City and learning about frontier life in 1883 in Montana. The narration discusses a number of critical issues facing the families, the history of homesteading and Montana, and various survival skills. The Glenns' milk cow falls ill. The families adopt their period dress, pack their wagons, and begin their three-day journey to the homestead site. When the horses leading one of the wagons bolt, Adrienne is nearly trampled and Conor is thrown to the ground. Conor is bitten by the Glenn's dog.

[edit] Promised Land

The families arrive in "Frontier Valley" and settle on their homesteads. Experts assist the families with the most dangerous tasks (like felling trees). Gordon Clune and Mark Glenn help the Brooks build their cabin. The weather turns rainy, the Glenn's dog eats some of the Clune's food, and the Clune girls confess to having snuck makeup onto the show. Gordon complains about the 20th century restrictions placed on him (such as no hunting), the poor quality of the goods given to the family, and the lack of preparation by the historical consultants. The Clunes struggle to get into their routine, and construction of the Brooks cabin is slower than anyone anticipated. The Clunes worry about how little food the family has. Crow Indians visit the homesteaders, providing deer meat for them. All the families have trouble breaking sod. The Glenns purchase a second milk cow. A freak snowstorm dumps 9 inches (23 cm) of snow on the homesteaders. The Clune's milk cow runs off.

[edit] Till Death Do Us Part

Nate Brooks anticipates the arrival of Kristen. The hard work takes a toll on everyone, forcing Karen Glenn to ask for a modern doctor due to tendonitis. The Clunes worry again about how little food they have to eat. As the end of June nears, the homesteaders visit the country store. Mark Glenn builds a porch for his wife's birthday. Nate's brother Alan arrives to help finish the cabin, and the Glenns' marriage begins to show strains. Tracy Clune suffers intense homesickness, and her parents visit from California. Nate and Kristen's wedding day approaches, leading to extensive preparations. Nate and Kristen's wedding occurs, Rudy Brooks' time on Frontier House comes to an end, and Kristen sees Nate's finished cabin for the first time.

[edit] Survival

The episode begins seven weeks into the experiment, and a week after Nate and Kristen's marriage. Kristen adjusts to frontier life. The Clunes receive the large amount of food they ordered two weeks ago, and decide to sell their horses and foal to the country store to pay for it. The Glenns build a chicken coop, and buy sheep and a pig to raise money. The Brooks, however, decide not to invest in animals. All the families confront having to lay up large amounts of hay for winter. Gordon Clune believes his weight loss is due to illness. The Clune family leaves the homestead and visits the home of a modern neighbor. There, they trade baked goods for meat and other food, watch TV, and the kids play with modern kids. Gordon and Adrienne defend their actions as not violating the rules, but rather trading with neighbors (which is in the spirit of the game). A modern physician determines Gordon is healthy, and the Clunes trade baked foods for Nate's firewood so Gordon does not have to work so hard. The Glenns and Clunes begin to make money from the "butter and egg business," and the Brooks buy milk goats. Gordon receives a still and makes alcohol, earning a substantial income. A neighbor drives cattle across the homesteads, forcing the participants to erect barbed wire fences. The Glenns' marriage erodes further, and Gordon and Karen feud.

[edit] A Family Affair

The ways the adults deal with the lack of privacy is examined. The children discuss how hard they must work, and become upset whenever livestock must be killed. The participants worry about disease, and a bear wanders onto the Clune property. The families decide to build a schoolhouse, and hire a teacher for the children. Not having children around changes the rhythm of life on the homesteads, and the children adapt to learning in a one-room classroom. The relationship between Karen and Gordon deteriorates, as does the Glenns' marriage. Karen's mother visits from Tennessee for Logan's ninth birthday. The children celebrate the end of five weeks of school by holding a recitation, and the families celebrate with a sewing bee.

[edit] The Reckoning

The episode begins 10 days before the experiment comes to an end. Each family builds a root cellar. The families begin harvesting their vegetables, and plan a harvest fair. The Glenns slaughter their pig, and the Clunes harvest dry grass. The women reflect on the drudgery of women's lives on the frontier, and many of the participants talk about how hard it will be to leave. The participants learn about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Neighbors from miles around join the harvest fair. The experts convene to assess the families. All the families had too little firewood, and the Clunes had hay that had too little nutritional value. The Clunes are found to have smuggled a modern box-spring into their home. Gordon announces that half his family will spend the winter in Butte, Montana, as a means of survival. A light snow falls on the final day on the site. The families reflect on leaving the homesteads. Two months later, the verdict is revealed. Nate and Kristen Brooks are on an extended honeymoon. They are judged to be able to survive the winter. The Clunes have moved into a large mansion in Malibu, California. They are judged to be unable to survive the winter. The Glenns have returned to Tennessee. They are told that, while they would have been physically able to survive the winter, they were not psychologically ready to do so. The Glenns decide to separate, as their marriage has suffered during their stay on the homestead.

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L3.0
  • Video Bitrate: ~2000 Kbps (CRF 18)
  • Video Resolution: 680x384
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Framerate: 29.970 fps
  • Audio Codec: AAC-LC (Nero)
  • Audio Quality: 0.50 48KHz (~150 Kbps)
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • Run-Time: ~54mn each
  • Number of Parts: 6
  • Part Size: ~810 MiB
  • Container: MP4
  • Released: 2002
  • Source: DVD
  • Capper: KarMa
  • Subtitles: English - Merged in the MP4

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