‘Alaskan Bush People’ Episode 3: ‘Range Ridin’ (RECAP)

Billy Brown Alaskan Bush People Range Ridin
Discovery Channel

On Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People episode, “Range Ridin'” (September 6), when the ranch comes under fire from encroaching hunters, Gabe takes it upon himself to learn to ride a horse as the family constructs a fence around the property. And later, Gabe and Raquell leave the mountain for the birth of their baby girl.

Alaskan Bush People was never good, but at what point in these 12ish seasons did it stop aspiring to be good? When did Park Slope realize they could put any crazy crap onscreen and the Browns’ doddering devotees will keep lapping it up? And when did they become conscious of the fact that a large portion of their audience is consuming their product just to marvel at how bad it is, encouraging them to create an even worse show?

It’s been a long, downward spiral. “Range Ridin'” continues the descent.

This episode wastes no time in getting to the nitty gritty of what Alaskan Bush People is all about: poop. Noah and She Who Will Not Be Named are giving expectant father Gabe a lesson in the consistency of baby feces, and wasting perfectly good candy bars and diapers in the process.

It’s no big deal.

That was the last of their candy stash, so Gabe has resorted to snacking on rebar. You notice Gabe’s been wearing these braces for about four years? That’s not how orthodontic appliances are supposed to work.

With the snow and cold weather, Brown Star Ranch is experiencing a rodent problem. Back in Alaska, they had rats. But in Bushington, they have rodents of unusual size.

The vermin are even nesting in Bear’s “bammock.” See what you missed out on, Raiv3n?

Gabe and Birdy are out splitting firewood when they pretend to hear a gunshot in the distance. It’s probably the exact same gunshot the sound department has been recycling since fake gunfire scared the Browns out of Chitina in Season 1.

The Brown kids are getting their undies in a bunch about hunters encroaching on Brown Star Ranch from adjacent public land. Bam’s idea is to put heads on pikes around the property as a warning to trespassers.

I like the concept, but I’m not certain they’d be able to execute (ha!) it in time. Their land is spacious, and it would require a lot of heads on pikes to sufficiently line the borders of Brown Star Ranch.

It’s decided that this problem is worthy of Fake Urgency, and that they’ll go out to areas where intruders are gaining access to Brown Star Ranch and fortify a few meters of the perimeter with barbed wire.

Gabe wants to do as much work as fast as possible, since he and his wife, Raquell, will be leaving in a few days to give birth to their baby, and he doesn’t want to leave his siblings in the lurch.

You rang?

Gabe and Birdy are towing a sled containing two rolls of barbed wire and about five metal fenceposts. They discover that the wire stuff has barbs on it that are actually very pointy and difficult to handle with bare hands.

Unsure of how to dispense the wire, they want to use a stick. Nobody’s got a saw or cutting tool, so Birdy just pulls out her pistol and blasts a branch off a tree, because the Browns always promote responsible firearm use.

Bam and Bear are stringing barbed wire between trees, and they’re snagging themselves and their clothes on it.

Bear claims to smell smoke, and they go to investigate. They find the remnants of a tiny campfire with some kindling that must’ve burned for 10 minutes.

Do they bother to look for tracks in the snow or other evidence? Nah. They’ve got to get back to poking themselves with a sad, saggy wire fence that will keep out no one.

Hauling all this stuff around to remote sections of the property is difficult. Someone suggests they trade in Cupcake for some sled dogs. At least Cupcake would be free of these fools. Where has Cupcake been, anyway? Did he also go to rehab?

Did you know Birdy has lots of cats?

She is amassing her army of cats to combat the rodent problem on Brown Star Ranch. Her cats have varying degrees of mousing skill. Birdy, too, has been known to snatch up pack rats and crush them with her bare hands.

Birdy wants to prepare a feast for her feline minions, so she grabs a frozen rat from one of the traps at Noah’s laboratory tent and brings it back to her treehouse to thaw out.

She has what looks like a store-bought rotisserie chicken that she’s stuffed with fish and chicken feet. She’s also made some kind of nasty gravy.

She might as well throw some corn in there, too, because they haven’t wasted enough food in this episode. Right now, there are a whole bunch of creepy Alaskan Bush People fans writing down this recipe.

And now for the pièce de résistance of the meal: rat soaked in gravy!

Birdy sets the whole feast on the floor for her kitties to devour. This is not the correct way to solve a rodent problem.

Gabe thinks he has the solution to the barbed wire haulin’ problem. He’s going to learn how to ride a horse, and then the horse will pull the sled. To get trained in horsemanship, Gabe will have to pry Father Billy off the couch.

A Texas native, Father Billy is tickled to death to help Gabe with this important “right [sic] of passage,” and even more tickled to death to blather on about it.

Gabe’s horse riding basically consists of strolling around the corral as if it were the pony ride at the county fair. After a few circuits, Father Billy pronounces Gabe a master of the equine, and says he’s ready to take horse Diego out into the rugged wilderness. Next week, Gabe will jockey Diego at the Royal Windsor Grand Prix showjumping competition.

We still have the Fake Urgency of a snowstorm threatening Father Billy’s monthslong dream of a big cabin his kids will pretend to build for him. Cement mixers need to get up the mountain to pour the foundation for the cabin, but snow and ice have made the road up to the construction site treacherous.

The Browns have to get to work with a bucket of rock salt and a wheelbarrow full of gravel to treat SEVEN FREAKIN’ MILES of road or the whole project will be delayed until spring and the future of the family will again be threatened forever. There is the added Fake Urgency of an impending snowstorm that could drop as much as 30 inches on Brown Star Ranch.

The cement mixers are on their way, so it’s now or never and the dream of Brown Star Ranch hangs in the balance like it does every week. The cement mixers arrive just fine, and Gabe and Bear stand around and annoy the professionals while they’re trying to actually do work.

The interstitial segments used to be little vignettes about fake Bush life, fake Bush crafts and so forth. Now they’ve devolved into Glutton Bowl-style eating competitions. Birdy and Rainy didn’t want Bear’s sad little wedding cake to go to waste, so they’re going to stuff all of it into their faces.

They are so going to end up getting diabeetus. Have they learned nothing from the late, great Wilford Brimley?

After a massive sugar rush, they crash hard.

And scene.

Asa, our dear narrator, informs us that a fews days after the cement was poured, the storm finally cleared. In fact, it’s almost as if there were no storm at all.

Gabe and his trusty steed Diego walk side by side down the road. Although we never actually get to see a full shot of Gabe riding the horse outside the corral, we should just assume that Gabe is an expert horseman and there was no creative editing involved in making him appear as such.

After conquering Fake Urgency and Unnecessary Drama for another week, Gabe must pack up some essentials from the Hayloft of Love. He and Raquell have to give birth to a new Alaskan Bush People cast member who will someday inherit the family’s tradition of B.S.

Good Lord, I hope not.

Alaskan Bush People, Sundays, 8/7c, Discovery Channel