Discovery Channel Alaskan Bush People recap: Breaking Free

Alaskan Bush People Ryan Berenz

Do the Alaskan Bush People get paid? We asked! Read our interview with the Brown family.

In the Season 2 premiere of Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People, “Breaking Free” (Jan. 2), a series of emergencies keep the Brown family stuck in Ketchikan.

Read Alaskan Bush People Season 1 episode recaps and more here!

Alaskan Bush People recap

The town of Ketchikan, Alaska, is hell on Earth. It reeks of concrete. There are stairs that move up and down by themselves through some kind of sorcery. There is a box that makes a humming noise and fries food within its unholy bowels. If the Brown family does not leave this place, they will die from exposure to comfort and convenience.

Living in this godforsaken land for nine months in an 800 square foot apartment, the Browns have done odd jobs to collect enough money to purchase a seafaring vessel. And then, sweet, sweet FREEDOM! All the trees you could ever want to climb! More fish than you can punch in five lifetimes!

“My role in the family is just to be as extreme and awesome as possible,” Bear says. “Be as extreme and awesome as possible” sounds like the life goals of your average 10-year-old boy in 1991.

Alaskan Bush People Season 1 Recaps: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | The Wild Life

Season 2 Recaps: Episode 1 | Episode 2Episode 3 | Episode 4Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8  | Wild Times | Episode 9 | Episode 10 | Episode 11 | Episode 12 | Episode 13 | Episode 14 | SHARK WEEK! | Episode 15 | Episode 16 | Lost Footage | The Wild Year

Billy scouts for a cheap boat that will carry the family far from the cesspool that is Ketchikan. But instead of one boat that can transport the whole family, he ends up with three boats: two fishing boats and one little skiff that Used Boat Guy throws in to sweeten the deal. He doesn’t care. Used Boat Guy just wants to get his nagging harpy of a wife off of his back.

Seriously, if you’re the Greater Ketchikan Convention and Visitors Bureau, you’ve got to be pissed about the Browns ragging on your town on national cable TV. If this boat thing doesn’t work out, Billy says, “We’re going to be stuck in Ketchikan for another year, and that’s going to kill us.” The Browns would rather live on 29 acres of land with Earth’s highest concentration of grizzly bears than to spend another day in Ketchikan … more like Ketchican’t, amiright?

Noah and Matt rummage through a junkyard for supplies to take along. Noah is very good with technology. He can judge the quality of a clock radio simply by smelling it. He once made an “arm radio” using a plastic soda bottle, and made headphones from Christmas ornaments. He also discovered that wearing multiple pairs of eyeglasses allows for increased magnification and protection. Noah will be blind in less than a year.

The Browns have added a new member to the clan this season. Meet Cousin Oliver Mr. Cupcake, a sweet pooch that probably has no idea what he’s getting into with this family.

Billy must decide which of his male offspring will command the second vessel, The Osprey. Serious and responsible Bam gets the commission, because Billy knows the rest of his sons are all hopeless screwups.

They’re all thrilled to be leaving Stinktown, and they pack up their stuff. Bear demonstrates his space-saving “punch-packing” technique, because this kid’s solution to every problem he encounters is to punch it. Can’t open that jar of pickles? PUNCH IT! Can’t find a parking spot? PUNCH IT! The computer network of your major multinational media conglomerate got hacked? Oh, you’d better believe you should PUNCH IT!

BUT WAIT! The Browns encounter yet another dental emergency that threatens to derail their plans! Ami’s got some swelling in her mouth. A visit to the dentist reveals that a half-dozen of her “remaining teeth” are infected and need to be yanked. Surgery would be expensive and would postpone their escape to the safety of Grizzly Bear Island, but Ami insists that they leave. She chooses the temporary relief of antibiotics. She’d rather take her chances with infected teeth than stay one more day in wretched, abysmal Ketchikan.

So finally, the Browns cast off for journey northward through dangerous narrow straits to the island of … Chichagof? There is no way in hell I can type Chichagof on a regular basis, so I hereby decree, in accordance with the Treaty of Autocorrect, that the Island of Chichagof shall henceforth be known as the Island of Chicago.

The waters are treacherous and full of dangers. The Browns encounter their old nemeses: Floating logs called “deadheads,” which have just been drifting aimlessly since Jerry Garcia died.

Matt has an awkward sleep pattern. He admits it and he won’t apologize for it, so screw you, SOCIETY! He’s going to sleep on the roof of the boat.

It’s revealed that Noah left behind a very fetching, very blue-eyed lass back in Ketchikan. “I’m more of the old-fashioned, 15th-century style of person when it comes to like, dating and things,” Noah says. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It wouldn’t be an episode of Alaskan Bush People without some Poseidon Adventure-style high jinks on the high seas, so the Brown family’s flagship, The Lorcan, blows its main engine and takes on a little trickle of water. Bam, Captain of The Osprey, wants to try to repair the engine at sea. Billy wants to get to a port as soon as possible. So, it’s mutiny, then? No. Bam relents, and Billy brings The Lorcan to dock in a town of 12 permanent residents who will want to boot the Browns out as soon as possible.

47 Comments

  1. I want to find out where they get their mail I need address so I can mail gift box to the Browns. Clothes for the girls…. Etc. A loving Fan, Davianna H from Mobile Alabama if anyone could help me get address that be awesome. Please email me at daviannah@att.net

  2. Ha ha ha! Great article! To hell (or to ketchikan) with critics of this article. The author did not make up a thing. He calls it like he sees it- a 20 something year old man’s life ambition of wanting to be “extreme & awesome” is a horrendously immature goal. This is the same “man” who has an odd impulse to punch things, including fish. In response to his family’s camp being ravaged by bears, his immediate reaction is to run up a tree and howl. Often seen using fish bones to “comb” through greasy hair, this is the brother who makes grooming a priority. How can this article’s author NOT be sarcastic? I dont believe this pack of inbred white trash has had half the “bush” experience that they claim- they are far too stupid. This is evidenced by constant, bad decision making- life threatening,even. Billy takes on ridiculous schemes, sitting on his fat ass, barking orders to his sons that are too incredibly stupid to realize that their lives are being endangered and they are being humiliated on national tv.

    • YOU ARE THE ONE THAT IS HUMILIATING!! YOU COULD NOT BE WATCHING THE FAMILY WHO HAVE RESPECT FOR ONE ANOTHER. MAYBE THAT IS NOT HOW YOU WERE RAISED. THE FAMILY WORKS TO KEEP THE ATMOSPHERE TOGETHER AND TO SHARE THE LOVE AND RESPONSIBILITY OF PEOPLE SHARING THE BUSH WITH EXTRA LARGE CREATURES.

  3. I just want to say that what I see when I watch this family is a lot of love, not only for each other but for God as well I find that wonderful!! I am not sure abt what I’ve been reading abt their legal situations but, I do wonder if all of them were aware of the qualifications of them receiving these grants I feel that the courts should be lenient if all of the hear-say is true. I love the show I would very much enjoy meeting this family and learning from them they do seem like very genuine people and they tend to make great friends. I wish you all the best Brown family and I pray to or Dear Lord Jesus blesses you with salvation and that you all live the way you would like to. With love, Brenda

    • Brenda- why should any judge be lenient on a pack of rats that have been run out of tx for scam after scam? They have no problem scamming the elderly, running an illegal marijuana operation etc. This rat pack has enough money from exploiting themselves on tv. They dont need to TAKE from honest, hard-working Alaskans! What is wrong with you that you feel bad for these scumbags and not for the innocent, decent Alaskans that they tried to rob?

  4. For goodness sake leave these people alone. Have they harmed you in any way? Is great to see good clean living. I envy them in what they are doing. They are putting may survivor experts so to speak to shame. I watch others try to make it for just 21 days and fall apart. This family is happy in their life so shut the hell up and let it be. Loving me some brown family!!

    • I agree with you. The writer is just too sarcastic and mean. It’s like she is looking for them to fail or the show canceled. She needs to get a life or find something else to write about.

    • I think there should be more loving, devoted, God fearing families in the lower 48’s that I don’t see. If I were not older than Bam Bam he would be my choice for a life mate, I love his way of thinking, doing and respect. Does anyone listen to them and how deep their love of family goes? To all the haters out there, grab a Bible, read and become a better person!! The Brown Clan are FANTASTIC!!!!!

  5. I love this show and it makes me a little upset to hear people criticize it. It is a good clean show, that is more than a little interesting and I love the interaction between the family members. Its not easy to find a show that is enjoyable, clean and the viewer gets to enjoy the dynamics of a family that loves and respects each other.

  6. I love the show and I like the family. Of course it seems that everybody has something to say.. about the life style or how they should be or what they imagine is authentic. That is like saying.. you do everything like your mother and father.. and your uncle and his wife.. etc etc. Fact is, you don’t. You get married and you cant stand how your in-laws do things or simply you just have your way. Same thing is for Browns.
    #2 Its also crazy reading comments about Ketchikan being insulted.
    The only point the family is making that the city life is not for them.
    But the show indeed did put the town on the map.. and on tv.. so if the tourism Bureau does not recognize that its their fault.
    I have never heard of Ketchikan before.. but now I did. So how is that a bad thing?
    And hopefully yes.. they are smart enough to get paid for the show.. so they can buy their land. I am sure that is a big reason they are doing it.
    Like anybody else would alow.. to be filmed day in and out.. without some benefit , when everybody else gets paid for reality shows.
    That is just common sense.
    People should take it easy. Its a fun show.. and indeed it gives great exposure to Alaska.

    All the best to all !

  7. I hope this show continues for many more seasons.I want to go build small log house in brownville.wonder if they would let me.love it .maybe one of the browns will get back to me and tell me I can come there out this city so can live like I would love to

  8. I like the show, its rediculously interesting. BUT I believe Billy has really messed up his family and their dreams. So much can happen in June (2015) they can loose everything. They may not get jail time (?) but they will have fines well in the thousands $$ AND the ones indicted will loose their hunting and fishing priviledges in Alaska for FIVE YEARS, and will be permanently disqualified from the PFD program in Alaska. Its the law up here. It’s very serious – what will his kids live off of? I don’t think Billy has been informed that you are “required” to follow all State game laws (which means licenses, limits and seasons) regardless of whether or not you are hunting on your own property. Billy’s living 50+ years ago. But Alaska has all changed, there are rules and regulations. And I don’t think his boys really understand that either. But I could be wrong, a few of them are computer users – they’re always checking on the book(s) sales, and I believe they are reading everything that is being written about them. Maybe that’s not a good idea – but they do. Anyway …. they may not be able to live on their land …wild…. those days are long gone. I met two of them (briefly) and they’re in dream land. But I wish them all well, and God Bless! But their peril is a mess!

    • Hey Linda …. Yeah, I think your right. Billy can’t plead ignorance of the law – anymore. He’s always lived close enough to towns (1-2 hrs away) He’s known what all the rules and regulations are regarding harvesting local Wildlife. He (and the boys) have multiple wildlife voilations on hold also. The grapevine says he also has to face all the IRS charges from all the bartering, no tax filings, etc. If he doesn’t get jail time – it will be a miracle. But it does look like – he and his family will be literally….. run out of Alaska. Wonder where they’ve been wintering, during the past four years? I guess it’s this years ….. cliff hanger…… LOL

      • Right.. if bartering is Alaskan way of life.. then probably everybody else should be on the list for the IRS. I don’t even know if that is correct.. its like friends exchanging something, gifts. I give you my tent and you can take my bike.

    • I know that you see things this way.And I respect all views when speaking to people.In my thoughts I think if the Browns were my neighbors,and they told me this town is killing us,we hate it here.I would think it is not the town .It’s any town.I can understand that.City and town life may not be for every one. I was out on the Ute and Apache and Navajo lands many do not do well when living in towns.Suicide is the highest and alcoholism rampant.Because they are forced to live a way of life not right for them.I think your towns are lovely.I enjoyed seeing them.I think you are good salt of the earth people.I’m sure you have problems.You are blessed and lucky that it is a life you want,and not a way of life that is not good for you.As the years go by soften your heart, and try to see things in others eyes.I hope I did not offend.

      • Sharon ….. My heart goes out to the native people of the lower 48. How could todays “modern society” … not see what they have done to these strong and honorable people. Through the years assimilation has truly killed their spirits. The smart ones, by creating gambling on their reservations believe (dream) they will be able to BUY back their lands from the white man. The Alaskan people will never let this happen to their native peoples like the lower 48 has. So tragic! Most of the “towns” in Alaska have been native outposts, and are respected as such. Native people are allowed to keep their lifestyle wild, if they wish. The PF helps and assures them, and all Alaskans, some financial help to keep stable.
        When people lie and cheat – or don’t follow the rules of the land – it hurts and insults the ones who do.

    • Instead of “always online checking on the book sales” maybe they should spend more time online reading about state law and tax fraud liability. And ways to get far away from their greedy megalomaniac of a father.

  9. I watch TV show first time. It not true. If woman live in bush for 30 years she wuld have known to make a healing tea for husband. Native medicine all over Alaska. Kid making lodge with wrap paper – funny and stupid. Should use it in the field for greenhouse. Should not be playing should be cutting wood for winter. It comes fast. We see a boat take girls from town to movie area. They get into canoe and paddle into bay. My grand daughter write this on computer. WiFi in town. Men come to town for pizza and computer. Lot of stories go on these people – they are TEEX’ kawdzitix’ people say

    • The first thing I thought was why did the boys not put a long line on the crab trap so that if they were wrong on the sink depth they could get it back,The second thing. why did the boy not try to make a green house instead of wasting effort on a makeshift shelter which was a foolish adventure from the start. Third why do they not fish.Also when the husband got sick why did they not Go to the tribal neighbors and ask for medicine.Although I liked his method for carrying the deer.They seem to be of good intention but they need to focus.

      • Sharon …. When I saw the coming of this show – I like many – thought we would be seeing a family who is genuinely living a hunting, fishing and gathering lifestyle. In touch with respect, nature and family. Showing the many what it is like to live wild. Billy was saying the right words – but you could see that his family has no idea of how to live in the wild. They are camping…. probably for 5-6 months a year in the bush. When true Alaskans started “researching” this family … that’s when you learn about the farce. I feel sorry that his kids have been lead to believe that they are on their way to fame and riches..??? That’s what I hear anyway. So I think it will all come to a head when they go to their trials. In Ketchikan…. the town helped them so much, and they trashed and disrespected it when leaving. Never burn your bridges – you may have to cross over them again. I wonder if popeye is going to bring them back in June.

        • Now you are just making stuff up.
          Kids are looking for the fame and riches?
          Who are you kidding?
          Kids that are really looking for fame and riches don’t go hanging out in Bear country.. chopping wood, and everything else they do.

      • What do you mean that the ,5 virgin boys aren’t virigin? Why hasn’t Ami got any new teeth yet? So many of the kids need new teeth also! Tell the family to see the new show, The
        Last Alaskans! For a possible match!
        There are women and men in the north east side of Alaska, called the Lewis family. Check it out. Anything is possible. Good luck Rose

  10. Here are the facts: Billy and his family were charged with 24 counts Felony Theft. From October 2009 – August 2012 – PFD fraud in the amount of $13,080. Arraignment was on 11/4/2014 at Juneau courthouse. On 12/2/2014 – Defendants motion for additional time regarding venue. * They were not qualified to draw the PFD because they were not legally living in Alaska.
    Their trial is set for 6/15/2015 @ 8:30AM – Ketchikan courthouse.
    trial by jury.
    Now you all know the facts ……Sarah

    • You should never burn your bridges behind you!
      See you folks in June. You really rubbed Ketchikan wrong!

    • I see a lot of jealousy here.
      Alaska should be happy that this show is giving such a great exposure to them.
      Funny how .. none of you mentioned when they were shot at ?
      run out of their home they just built.
      who was there to help them then?

      I hope all goes well for them.. I like the show and I like the family.. and I like watching Alaska.

      I just don’t like meanies.. no need for pettiness and jealousy.

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About Ryan Berenz 2001 Articles
Devotee of Star Wars. Builder of LEGO. Observer of televised sports. Member of the Television Critics Association. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Connoisseur of beer. Consumer of cheese. Father of two. Husband of one. Scourge of the Alaskan Bush People. Font of Simpsons knowledge. Son of a Stonecutter.