‘Alaskan Bush People’: ‘The Buffalo Trail’ (RECAP)


On the Alaskan Bush People episode “The Buffalo Trail” (March 10), the Wolfpack seizes an opportunity to stockpile meat with their first ever buffalo hunt. Brothers Noah and Bam are left to build a mine-cooled meat locker and keep the ranch running in anticipation of the family’s return.

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After much hullabaloo, the bison-hunting episode is here. Let us commence with the recapping.

Bear and Gabe go out on the Brown Star Ranch property to scout locations for Bear’s future “treehouse castle,” but mostly it’s just an excuse for Bear to show off his ridiculous red trench coat sans shirt ensemble.

Back at the ranch, Billy is just tickled to death with Brutus, their new Longhorn bull, and the Longhorn cows they bought in last week’s episode. The problem is that Brutus and the cows can’t have sex and reproduce fast enough to provide Billy with the meat they so desperately need before winter, which, by the way, IS RIGHT THERE!!

But Billy knows of a guy (Read: The producers Googled him) in Idaho who has bison on a ranch. The rancher sure could use someone to come out and shoot one of the useless male bison to cull the herd. The Browns get to kill something for our entertainment, the rancher gets one less animal to deal with and the bison get, um…shot. Everyone wins!

To prepare for the hunt, Bam, Birdy and Rainy go out for some target practice and a shootin’ competition to see who gets to kill the large, majestic animal. They paint up a bunch of plywood targets to look like bison.

Is that supposed to be a bison calf underneath? And what’s with the udders? If they’re hunting male bison, does this mean that those are its genitals? God, I hate this show.

This painting is even worse, if you can imagine that being possible. Why does the bison look like Snidely Whiplash? Did I mention I hate this show? Anyway, Rainy wins at the target practice. Bam wins the art contest.

In the same manner Billy brought a Longhorn bull onto Brown Star Ranch before having any plan or infrastructure in place to contain said bull, Billy is going to bring a ton of meat home without any means of preserving or freezing it. It falls on Noah to solve this week’s Fake Urgency problem by constructing a meat locker.

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There are supposedly old abandoned mines on Brown Star Ranch. Noah’s plan is to build the meat locker on top of a mineshaft and use a motorized fan to blow cold air from the mine into the meat locker. I do not see how this setup can create a consistent temperature low enough to safely refrigerate meat for even a few hours, let alone the weeks or months that it would take for the Browns to consume 2,000 pounds of bison meat.

Noah goes out to a junkyard to buy some fans, one for drawing cold air from the mine into the meat locker and the other for inevitably blowing the stench of rotting meat out of the shack.

The proprietor of this junkyard is a fellow named Rory. The good folks at Alaskan Bush People Exposed have done their homework again, and they’ve discovered that Rory is Billy’s kind of guy.

Gabe has more than the buffalo hunt on his mind. He’s anticipating a visit from his girlfriend, Raquell.

Even though Gabe has no idea when this visit will happen, he’s getting an early start in making himself look less revolting. “Yeah, I can stare down 13-foot-tall grizzly bears, but when it comes to dating, I get super nervous,” Gabe says, borrowing that “13-foot” bear B.S. straight from his father’s terrible book. I hope Raquell packs her fun pants, because Gabe bought her a ticket to the gun show!

Someone needs to look after Brutus and the other livestock while the family is off shooting things, so Birdy instructs Bam on the proper care of the goats and the chicks. The chicks are named Biscuit, Little Princess, Cookies and Cream, Winter, Snowflake, Frankie, Mr. Cluckles, Jumping Tulip, Just Tulip, Jumper, Fuzzy, Scarf, Yum and Gravy. Ironically, Yum is too cute to be eaten. Birdy tells Bam that the goats need to walked twice a day, but she’s just screwing with him, because everyone likes to stick it to Bam.

Noah gets to work building the meat locker, which he says will be…happy?

Noah actually says “heavy,” but his speech is so poor that it sounds like “happy” to the caption writer. Seriously, those folks who write the ABP closed captions deserve combat pay.

Noah’s plan is to strip down a heating unit, install the fan into it, and then stick the whole thing into a hole in the ground.

“Hopefully, I’m not going to strain a kidney,” he says. Noah’s already lost his gallbladder and “dinted” his diaphragm, so the last thing he needs is a strained kidney. Noah gets the fan thing started up and it blows dust, rocks and debris at him.

Gabe, Birdy, Rainy, Bear, Billy and Mother Ami are camping out in Idaho on the eve of the big bison hunt. They’re sitting around the campfire, roasting marshmallow hot dog kebabs and reminiscing about the good ol’ days.

Then someone shoves a hot dog right in Mother Ami’s face.

For a brief moment, I thought Mother Ami was making the hot dog levitate between her hands. SORCERESS! Then I realized there’s a stick on the end of the hot dog and Mother Ami is probably making that strange face because there’s campfire smoke wafting straight at her. Still, it’s awkward and funny and I am grateful to the editors of this show for including this shot.

Gabe and Rainy have both come down with a case of Billy Brown Syndrome, and they’re too sick to go on the hunt. Bear’s not feeling his best, but he’s not going to let that stop him from killing something today.

Birdy and Bear load up their guns and apply the proper shade of face paint for buffalo hunting.


Back at Brown Star Ranch, things are…AW, CRAP! It’s She Who Will Not Be Named again. She makes Noah take a break from his important work to go on a fishing date.

Yeah, Noah needs to go to rehab for his addiction to work. Anyway, Noah casts a line and they sit on the shore. And then She Who Will Not Be Named starts flutin’.

They catch what looks like a trout. Noah guts it without punching it to death first. At least the fish doesn’t have to listen to any more flute.

Bam is busy tending to the goats and chicks. He says the goats are “a little ornery,” so he takes one of them out for a walk of about 10 feet, and then it’s back to the pen with it. Poor Bam. He is a mere shell of his former self.

Bear and Birdy are out on the hunt, but they’ve not spotted any bison. Maybe they need more face paint.

Back at the campsite, the situation is dire. Gabe is so ill, he’s withdrawn to the solitude of his tent to eat whatever the hell that is he’s eating.

Meanwhile, Bush Elves have built most of the meat locker’s wooden frame in just a few hours. Bam eventually comes to assist Noah, and they bicker and squabble the way Bam and Matt used to do.

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Noah has spent a long, hard day of pretending to work. He missed dinner, so She Who Will Not Be Named brings him enchiladas and fish. They discuss the idea of having a dinner bell, but then they’d have the problem of other family members answering it.

In last week’s episode, practically none of the family came to dinner when they were invited, so I don’t think “uninvited guests” will be an issue.

Bear and Birdy finally come across a herd of bison, but they don’t know which one to shoot. (The males are the ones with the top hats and handlebar mustaches, right?) The herd walks away, and either Birdy and Bear are too dumb to follow it or the producers needed to eat up screen time with Unnecessary Drama.

It’s not long before the Bison Fairies deliver them a male that has strayed from the herd.

What a peculiar thing to say! It’s almost as if it had just been spoken by a halfwit right there on his own. But sure enough, there is a male bison minding his own business, happily munching on some…glass?

This glass-eating bison has a death wish, and Birdy is here to make wishes come true! She aims and shoots. I think this is the first time on Alaskan Bush People that we’ve seen someone firing at an animal and the animal dropping in the same camera shot. In the past, the Browns’ game has been pre-killed by someone with a license who knows what the hell they’re doing.

I wonder at first if there’s a stunt double for Birdy, since we don’t get a very good look at her. And then I wonder if that bison out there is really just two guys in a costume. Or maybe it’s a stuffed bison that someone just knocked over on cue. But it really looks as if Amora Snowbird Brown shot and killed a bison.

Birdy has scored what Bear calls “a dad shot,” meaning that the bullet lied, cheated and grifted its way to the target.

Bear runs off to get Billy and the front-end loader they borrowed from the rancher so they can haul the dead bison back to the camp.

That’s life, though. One minute you’re alive and eating glass, the next you’re dead and hanging from a tractor’s scoop.

Billy’s got big plans for this bison. He wants the hide. Mother Ami wants to eat the liver, and she’ll probably make something stupid like a spice rack with the big hooves. Poor bison, giving his life for this awful show.

I’m not going to get into the ethics of hunting animals in this recap, but it should be known that the Browns participated in a canned hunt on an enclosed, private ranch in Idaho. For a price, they are guaranteed to kill something. There’s really no sport in that. They might as well have shot something at the zoo.

We know that the Browns don’t have to hunt to survive, and they’ll get through the winter just fine on hot dogs, marshmallows and Dr. Pepper. Even if they did need 2,000 pounds of meat, it would all be rancid in a few days because of Noah’s half-assed meat locker blowing tepid air and dirt all over it. No, this was nothing but a trophy hunt for the purposes of this lousy TV show.

“The dream is real. The dream’s right in front of us,” Billy says. “And we’ve learned that if all of the family stands beside each other, nothing can stop us when we do that.”

What a load of buffalo chips.

We’re introducing a new segment to these recaps called “That’s Matt!,” in which we look at a social media highlight from Matt Brown’s sober adventures in California. This week, Matt’s girlfriend bought new bedsheets.

Join us next week for another installment of “That’s Matt!”

Alaskan Bush People, Sundays, 10/9c, Discovery Channel