Discovery Channel Alaskan Bush People recap: Now or Never

Alaskan Bush People Discovery Channel

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

In the midseason finale of Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People, “Now or Never” (Feb. 20), the Browns work on building the walls and roof of their house, but snow and setbacks threaten to derail the family’s hard work.

Alaskan Bush People

I’ll live tweet the Bush People “Now or Never” episode tonight, since I had a great time last week and the Bush People Twitter Nation is a fun, vibrant community of hip cats. And this is apparently what I do with my Friday nights now.

You don’t need to know anything about Twitter or even have an account to follow along. Just view my Twitter feed here at @ChannelGuideRAB or the #AlaskanBushPeople hashtag (ignore Twitter’s Sign Up! crap), watch the show tonight at 10pm ET/9pm CT. Apologies to fans on the Left Coast, as it won’t be a live tweet for you.

Look for the usual recap of the show sometime Saturday afternoon.

ALSO SEE: What Happened to Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People?

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

Winter is still coming. The foundation of Brownton Abbey is laid, but the family has to get the roof and walls built before snowfall. We learn that the cabin they’re building is just for Billy, Ami, Birdy and Rainy. Noah and Bam are going to live in either the tent or the trapper shack. “Matt, I have no idea,” Bam says. “He might curl up under a log.” I give Matt 10 hours before he comes knocking on the cabin door, “Mom? Dad? I’m scared. Can I sleep with you guys?”

The Browns tell us how hard it was to build that cabin in Chitina in the snow and cold. (It would be the same cabin they spent all of Season 1 building and then just abandoned after alleged gunshots were supposedly fired at them, reportedly.) “You can feel the winter trying to kill you,” Matt says.

With the boys rounded up, Billy gets out the architectural drawings for the house and waves his fingers over them as if to demonstrate he knows what he’s doing. “We’ve built so many houses before, that I don’t think I can count them,” Billy says.

No one trusts Matt to do anything right, but yet they delegate important stuff like crucial measurements to him. “It kind of hurts my feelings when my family doubts that I can get something done. … People doubt me sometimes, but in the end of it, I always get the job done [clicks tongue].”

Jobs done by Matt: 0

The Noah Lisa
Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Noah Lisa”

Noah gets assigned the project of building a meat smoker out of a speaker box and a metal filing cabinet. “People that I’ve met have called me a genius, a Da Vinci of our time. I guess to an extent, I am a genius.”

It’s time for another EXTREMELY IMPORTANT hunt, which means it’s time for sharpshooter Gabe to fire at random woodland creatures with the scope cover on. Billy takes the blame for that fiasco, saying he gave Gabe a rifle with an uncalibrated scope and told him to “iron-sight it.” Given that I know practically nothing about firearms, I’ll let our more knowledgable commenters break that whole business down. Of course Gabe gets his redemption and shoots a deer, guts it and makes a backpack out of it.

Back at Brownton Abbey, Noah completes his meat smoker and tags it with a cross, believing that God is everywhere and in everything Noah creates. I agree with this. The Lord works through us and our creative endeavors. All of these recaps have been divinely inspired.

It’s now time to test the Holy Smoker with the fresh meat. “You do not adjust the grate size to fit the meat, you adjust the meat to fit the grate size,” Noah says. “It’s a great grate, man.” The well-adjusted meat will take eight hours to smoke.

The following day, Billy asks Bam and Matt to build some temporary stairs to ease construction.

“Every time I put Matt and Bam on a job, they end up doing more bickering than working,” Billy says. They’re at each other’s throats over HOW TO BUILD THE TEMPORARY STAIRS, and I am even more convinced that this rivalry between them is manufactured for unnecessary drama. “I’m just tired of it and I just want you to stop,” Bam tells Matt. Bam has just expressed what we’re all thinking about this entire show.

One morning, Billy emerges from the tent to find a whopping two inches of snow. The death toll will be catastrophic.

Bear comes out of a snow-covered sleeping bag. I don’t even… The Browns weren’t expecting snow, even though they’ve spent this entire episode expecting snow, and didn’t properly secure their tools. The chainsaw is cold and snowy, and they can’t get it started. “Turning on a chainsaw is a lot like turning on a woman,” Bam explains. “You can’t just flip a switch. You have to sweet-talk it. You have to take your time, warm it up and then go.” I taste vomit. Bam gets the chainsaw started and then has sex with it.

There’s a bunch of boring construction and lifting scenes. Then Matt gets his hand squashed during the placement of a huge roof beam. Billy says, “If Matt’s hand is broken, there’s not much we can do about it.”

“With the weather right now, we couldn’t get to town if we wanted to,” Billy says. What a load of happy horseshit.

Matt fashions a splint with a glove, some wood and some twine. Noah’s going to build an X-ray machine out of an old junked Commodore 64, just like Da Vinci used to do.

There’s now a big problem at the cabin. No one noticed that the roof was planned to occupy the same space as a tree. (See “Horseshit, Load of Happy”) Billy says he figured the tree might come into play, but he didn’t want to cut it down because Ami was particularly fond of it. “You have to cut my tree,” Ami says. “This is heartbreaking to me.” The dangerous task of cutting the tree falls on Gabe. The tree may also fall on Gabe.

“I’m worried about Gabe falling and breaking his neck,” Ami says. “I think I’m going to stick around and watch this.” Ooooo! My son could break his neck and saw his face off! THIS I MUST SEE! Of course we know that Gabe is fine and does not saw his face off because he is talking to the camera and is not horribly disfigured.

And then there’s more boring construction and hammering and sawing. The snow is gone already, and it doesn’t look much like winter when the Browns put the finishing touches on the house. It looks like this stuff was filmed in spring or fall and then edited out of sequence. There’s this ceremonious house unveiling scene at the end, almost as if they were on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and didn’t actually build the house themselves.

“We have our own home on our own land,” Billy says of the property they “own” under Special Use Permit on the (Hoonah Ranger District) Tongass National Forest. [Update: Commenter Tim has some clarification on this.]

Ami sees a great future ahead for the family. Everything is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows for the Browns.

At least until June…


  1. I think the Brown family is fantastic. What a difficult life they have led and have managed to stay together through it all. With or without help. I could never live that life style, but I have the utmost respect for people that do. I would give almost anything to have such a loving, kind, and supportive family like the Browns have. You all have come into my life when I was looking for something and I found your beautiful family. I hope nothing but the good Lord and love come your way soon. P.S. Matt and Bamm. Maybe you two should try to go out and have fun together sometime, and see if that helps stops the bickering. I love your show and can’t wait to see what everyone has been up too. Keep up the good work. And continue to be the wonderful, smart, beautiful, people that you are.

  2. Where do I start? Let’s see Ami claims to put her children first yet, she sets no good example. Snobird is a lovely young woman, yet because of lack of dental care, she looks like snaggletooth. Ami would have rather taken her chances with dying than have her teeth fixed until it literally was almost too late. The parents have such a hold on their children it’s pitiful! If this is the way you two want to live so be it, but give your children a chance at a future!!! No wonder Christine left Noah, who wants to be married to a loser with a crazy control freak for a mother-in-law!! Good luck to her children. Bear needs a mental health professional to help him. I do watch this program and hope they will get more realistic.

  3. People don’t like them because there happy and doing something they want to do. They don’t drink , take drugs , the kids treat there patents and all other people with respect , the guys treat women they meet with respect also.
    Everyone wants them to lead a boring arse life like they do , take drugs , drink, swear and have no respect for anyone ,it’s called jealousy.

  4. This seems like a hard working family who care about one another and know how to make do. Why so much negativity? If you don’t like it, don’t watch it! I have enjoyed watching this show and seeing this family work together to accomplish their goals in that beautiful country. This family seems unspoiled by the crappiness and selfishness of this world and it’s refreshing. It’s also refreshing to watch a program where the “F” word isn’t used constantly. Best of luck to the Browns.

  5. I have read all the comments and everything I can find on this reality show. The end result is entertaining, addictive and character,actors, the family, should win awards. But underneath it all, it’s fake. The Brown’s are a family of unemployed nomads living off of everything and everyone, like the begger Insaw on the corner street outside who us , not, homeless at all ( as the sign he holds says he is). It’s entertainment pure and simple. But, I must say Imam disappointed in the Discovery Channel. Their ethics are a shamble and probably no less than what the Brown family faces in court in June. If the show has two million viewers, than we are all guilty of the same crime.

  6. Jason Koons…….if you read some previous posts you will have a lot of your questions answered.

    Ryan and David: Dropping in to see how the champion critics of the social media are doing. Sherlock has not been doing any “sherlocking”………… how about you, Doc?

    • Hi Sherry! Thanks for checking in. Hope to have something new up ABP-related by end of the week. Discovery Channel announced some more stuff, and … oy.

  7. I need to know if the show is real because I want to send my vacation there for a few weeks if it is,and bring the brown family some gifts,replay with KOONS bush men if you will so I dont see it as spam.
    Thank you for your time.

    • Yeah. It’s real. You should go. Truly. Make sure you take them lots of gifts. Additionally, so that you can send me a gift for setting the truth straight, repl(a)y to this with “Douglas” and your contact information so that I can send you my marking address. Thank you for your time.

  8. This posted below and wasn’t suppose to.

    Does anyone think that if the court sentences the Browns next month that Discovery will plan a show around Matt, Snowflake and Merry Catherine?

    • Nothing is going to happen to them.Discovery channel will pay their fine,probably make a show about their wrongful plight! They’re a cash cow for Discovery.

  9. Does anyone know how the Alaskan court system might deal with the Browns if they are convicted of the charges?

    All but Matt and the two girls are charged. It had to be one boy left to take care of the girls because chances are the oldest girl can not take care of the youngest and herself so Billy planned that Matt, the oldest would be the one to help Snowball look after the youngest daughter. (Billy seems to put his oldest son in charge a lot.) How will Matt and the two girls survive without Billy and the others. It won’t be in the bush unless Discovery has a show planned around that.

    Also are there supervisor positions available to inmates because that is all Billy seems to want to do and I hear that the prisoners have assigned work within the prison.

  10. I think the brown family they are so amasing i will like to meet you
    let me know if is posible

    • If the Brown family do receive sentences does anyone think Discovery will plan a show around Matt, Snowflake, and Merry Catherine?

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About Ryan Berenz 2128 Articles
Member of the Television Critics Association. Charter member of the Ancient and Mystic Society of No Homers. Squire of the Ancient & Benevolent Order of the Lynx, Lodge 49, Long Beach, Calif. Costco Wholesale Gold Star Member since 2011.