Discovery Channel Alaskan Bush People recap: The Wolf Pack Returns

Alaskan Bush People Ryan Berenz

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In Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People Season 4 premiere episode “The Wolfpack Returns” (May 6), the Browns return to their homestead in Alaska after three months. They’re going to rebuild their home, but need to take on a risky hauling job to make it happen.

Welcome back, friends. It’s time to head for the mountains…

Alaskan Bush People


The Browns have spent three months in Seattle while Billy gets treatment for Billy Brown Syndrome. But the doctors say that Billy’s seizure disorder is in remission, and now he and his family are returning to Brownton Abbey. Goody for us.


Nature (or the production crew) has done its best to wipe the stain of Brownton Abbey off the land. The elements have knocked down Matt’s tire hut, drenched Bam’s house with water and infested Noah’s house with a cute, fluffy mold. There’s a lot of work to be done that Billy will watch others do.

Matt is still a goofy bastard. Matt, like his hair, is UNTAMED! Matt claims that his tire house is equipped with a “self-destruct mechanism” consisting of five gallons of gasoline and a 12-gauge pump. It shouldn’t surprise you that Matt keeps gasoline and firearms (and a flare?) in his hut. But under what circumstances would his hut need to self-destruct? And would Matt be inside the hut when the mechanism is triggered? If Alaskan Bush People had a self-destruct mechanism, it got triggered back in Season 1.

Noah “Dark Cloud” Brown calls himself a “mechanical physicist,” and I should note that “Dark Cloud” is the nickname spoken by Our Dear Narrator. This is not something I made up, nor would ever make up.

In the main house, Billy, Ami and Birdy are sorting through their garbage, determining what garbage to keep and what garbage to burn. Billy finds a small metal plaque with a replica of da Vinci’s Last Supper. “It’s just, like, symbolic,” Billy says. Indeed, it symbolizes Billy’s Christ-like journey of scammin’ and fraudin’ across the USA. I would totally PhotoShop the Brown family into that painting but blasphemy is something I try to avoid.

A little time in Seattle did Birdy some good. She got herself some new spectacles! She’s going for the Bush Hipster look. The teeth, however …

Now comes the time for the SYMBOLIC rite of cleansing with fire! The family gets together around a bonfire built by Bear to burn away their old stuff and start over. And what gets burned? A soiled bedsheet and … no, nothing else. Just a soiled bedsheet. The Browns can finally move on!

Billy decides it’s time to throw his self-respect into the fire. Billy acknowledges that he and Bam are going to jail in the spring over the PFD fraud conviction. We all knew that, but we didn’t know how the show would deal with it. The show is dealing with it by having Billy play the victim who’s been bullied by the big, bad bureaucratic state of Alaska. “The Browns have homesteaded in Alaska for more than 30 years, but now, Alaska was accusing them of living somewhere else,” Our Dear Narrator says through gritted teeth. “I’d never cheat Alaska,” Billy says with pants on fire. Then he plays up his jail sentence as an act of altruism, sparing the rest of his family from the slammer. “Just take me. Put me in jail as long as you want,” Billy claims to have told prosecutors. “They just wouldn’t give up.” Also sacrificing himself for the good of the family is Bam, who “demanded that he shoulder the burden of the remaining charges.” Billy’s playing the Alaska Oppresses the Bush Lifestyle card, blaming paper trails and bureaucracy for the mistake. But Billy’s more determined than ever to turn Brownton Abbey into a creepy cult militia compound. “This is where we live. This is where we make the stand. This is it,” Billy says. Hope Matt has his self-destruct thingy armed and ready.

But enough about that. It’s time to get back to work. Gabe gets busy throwing rocks in the mud.

And it’s time to find a working … skiff? That can’t be right. Our beloved skiff, The Skiff, has entered Valhalla? “She actually died on us recently,” Bam tells Paul, the Brown family’s hauling business benefactor. “All the rivets went out of the bottom and she kept sinking on us, so we had to put that one to bed.” So they’ve written off Alaskan Bush People’s most interesting character and the only reason I can tolerate watching this show. This sucks mightily. My story is that the The Skiff was too beautiful for this world, and it chose to take its own life rather than remain in servitude to the unworthy Browns.


But I will press on with this recap and not allow grief to consume me. Paul has a skiff he will loan to the Browns for the season if they agree to transport his buddy’s Suzuki Samurai across Icy Strait. Paul must hold some kind of grudge against his buddy, otherwise he wouldn’t suggest that these imbeciles haul his car over a body of water.

Back in Brownton Abbey, the mold has driven Noah out of his tent of horrors, so he must find an alternative dwelling. He decides on the chicken coop, since the chickens were given to a friend in Hoonah when the Browns went in exile. So Noah’s going to sleep in a chicken coop. In the immortal words of Josh from Gustavus: “It shouldn’t be too bad. It’s just the feces there.”

Bam consults with Billy on the skiff for Suzuki deal, and Billy approves. This new bigger, more powerful skiff is going to change everything for the Browns, unlike that old Skiff that bailed out these fools a mere 300 times. In order to transport the Suzuki Samurai — which hasn’t been sold in North American markets since 1995 — they need to build a barge out of wooden planks and some empty oil drums. They visit the junkyard in Hoonah, where we are led to believe that Kenny! is alive and well and not rotting in the root cellar. Clearly this is previously shot footage edited to make it look like Kenny is alive. There’s probably enough B-roll footage of Kenny to give the illusion that he’s alive for 10 more seasons.

The construction of the barge is rather uneventful and it takes a long time, which makes it easy to recap. The only thing really worth mentioning is how Matt makes a little model of their barge out of pencils and a toy car. He tests it in a frying pan full of water and EUREKA! It floats! Now all they need are some really big pencils and they’re all set to haul a freakin’ Suzuki.

Noah fell and reinjured his already gimpy leg. This sends him to his workshop of horrors to build a Bush Robo Leg out of a knee brace and some plumbing parts. Noah needs to be in 100 percent physical condition if he’s going to make his date terribly uncomfortable. Yes, Noah has a date with a woman,Corrina Karryna, he met in the Lower 48. “I was just walking by and I complimented the view,” Noah says. “Killer introduction if I have to say so myself.” Pompous ass. Noah tells his mother the news that Corrina Karryna is coming to visit, because we all know real-world girls like to travel to the Alaskan bush at their own expense to stay with some creepy guy they just met. “She’ll be staying in the main house and she becomes my responsibility,” he says. “If I must, I will lay down my life to protect anyone that is in my care.” I really hope it comes to that.

“Noah couldn’t have gotten hurt at a worse time,” Billy says, fretting that Noah is making a run at Billy’s record streak of Days Absent From Work. Noah will stay behind to frighten his ladyfriend while the rest of the family goes off to see how well a Suzuki Samurai floats. Bear suggests that he ride in the Samurai while they’re towing it. “You have to respect the danger, man,” Bam says. Bear replies, “THE DANGER HAS TO RESPECT ME!” I really, legitimately laughed at that.

In the interstitial scene, which is often more entertaining than anything else in the episodes, Matt cuts potatoes with a seashell. He’s making Bush Potato Chips and frying them in oil. Matt thinks he should market them, with “Mild, Medium and Extra Bush” flavors.  To make them even less appetizing, Matt sets the chips on a dirty log to cool off and infuse some of that Extra Bush flavor. Alert the good people at Frito-Lay.

If you’ve made it this far and are still watching this series, then you are a hearty soul and I commend your fortitude. A lot of the Brown family supporters appear to have fled, and many of the most ferocious bush bashers have grown weary. And now they’ve killed off both Kenny and The Skiff. These are indeed sad times we live in.

But I shall soldier on in recapping this terrible show until the Good Lord tells me it’s time to stop. This is what I do. This is where I make the stand. This is it.

Man, I really want one of those self-destruct thingies.





  1. Ryan, I didn’t watch the “premier” of this season, and I seriously doubt I’ll be watching it at all. After reading your re-cap, I feel as though I dd watch it. Your quips and overview was wonderful as usual, and I thank you! I miss my fellow “BushBashers”, but the Brown family is just getting too annoying to bash anymore and quite honestly, my blood pressure goes up at the mere thought of any of the “kids” ever breeding! Reading that Billy put the blame on Alaska for the PFD issue doesn’t sit well at all. Am I surprised he shifted the blame…? NO! Of course I’m not. What I am surprised about is that Discovery would permit him to LIE to make himself look like some sort of wet, shivering kitten. I homestead in CT and I have to tell you…every time ANY of them refer to that garbage heap they live in as their “homestead” it makes my blood boil. And, not for nothing, but Billy’s physique is definitely NOT indicative of a homesteader. He couldn’t get out of his own way if his ass was on fire. I may cave and watch the next episode, but then again, maybe not…talk about being conflicted, huh?! After all, I vowed to boycott ABP because they were renewed and Ice Lake Rebels wasn’t! Whether I watch ABP or not, I will most certainly be reading your next re-cap, so keep ’em coming!!!

    • The homesteading angle is horrible, but so is virtually everything on this show. Ami talking about how she wants Browntown to grow, have more houses and buildings, and of course grandbabies running around is nauseating. Seriously Ami, you know quite well that the land is leased from a local to Discovery for 7 years. You don’t own the land nor the buildings on the land. Browntown is a film set with props like the cabin built by other people. The road system is quite close by. A court of law just convicted your family of crimes that involved you not even living in Alaska let alone in the bush. You own lawyer said in court that part of your punishment has been already dolled out in the form of public shaming with it coming to light that your entire story of living in the bush is complete B.S.. Again, your own lawyer said that. These are far from homesteaders

    • I saw on Twitter that you were swearing off ABP. Can’t blame you, but we’ll miss your wit and wisdom in the Bush Bash! And I will be using “He couldn’t get out of his own way if his ass was on fire” at some point.

      • By all means, Ryan! Feel free to use that descriptive!!! I feel like I may end up watching on Friday, but again, I’m conflicted. There’s just so much wrong with them…it’s almost TOO EASY to find any more fault than they’ve already provided us with! Towards the end of last season, Ami’s constant “crocodile tears” nauseated me. She just “doesn’t understand” far too much about the jerk she’s been married to for a lifetime. What’s not to understand…?! They stole money, they got caught. They should be thankful the book wasn’t thrown at them (as I believe it should’ve been…but that’s just me). Ami’s as much of an idiot (in her own right) as the clown she’s married to. They’ve both done their kid’s a disservice…not a one of them will ever be able to function in the real world or make any type of societal contribution. Maybe I should resume BushBashing…re-reading what I just wrote, I think I may have some pent up hostility…!

  2. Ryan, I was looking forward to another great review and was not disappointed—love it! My husband and I watch the show purely for laughs so we enjoy it on that level. (Note: Billy’s attempt to be the “victim” in the PFD situation was NOT one of those laughable moments…that was ridiculous and false, and not in keeping with one who constantly proclaims he is following God).

    I was surprised to see that Birdie did not get her tooth fixed while in Seattle for 3 months—they can afford it so why it wasn’t done is mysterious—unless she likes looking that way….which is too bad because it really detracts from her appearance.

    It is clear that Noah is not into the physical end of bush life. While I don’t think he would harm anyone, his demeanor is definitely weird and it would have to be an equally strange woman who would go the distance with him as her mate. And, will he find a girl who wants to set up a home in a chicken coop? Yowser! That thing needed to be disinfected and scrubbed down—-that was an “Eeewwww!” moment when he decided to sleep there.

    While Rain’s eye make-up is a bit much, she is still in that experimental young teen stage where I’m sure she will change her look often over the years. I actually liked the wall-hanging the 3 women made—but I like rustic decor…just not bear-tramped-on or from-the-junkyard decor.

    Suzuki hauling job: Seriously, someone trusts these guys to do that? I’m sure there will be a lot of pointless drama involved, but the vehicle will somehow make it to its destination because the Brown family “works together”—-unlike every other family on the planet, apparently. And Matt’s stupid pencil raft demo was, well—stupid!

    After this show goes off the air it would be interesting to revisit the Browns—say in 2 or 3 years—and see if the dream of Brown Town has progressed.. My guess would be “no” but it would be interesting to see if 1) they are still “in the bush”, 2) if any of them are married, 3) if there are any grandchildren. (P.S. I abhor the word—if it even is a word—“grandbabies”—-ish.)

  3. I’m really glad this outlet exists for my ABC addiction. I work in education and am embarrassed to tell anyone in real life that I watch the show. My own family thinks anyone that watches needs an intervention. So…Mr. Berenz, if you are “creepy”, you are not alone!
    Some of my highlights: Bird for president!, Gabe thinks being strong is a character trait, Noah “Chicken Shit” Brown is going to have another date, and Billy in the new boat afraid to go full throttle. Someone that is REALLY creepy is Ami (reason? Your choice!) The skiff didn’t die naturally, nor was it suicide…those dumbells murdered it! The skiff for president!

  4. I read this piece that was re posted on a ABP FB page, and it is, by far the most professional well written review that I’ve read so far. It’s factual and funny, and very believable. Keep up the good work as I have bookmarked you and the website! I’d like to add, that, not only were viewers expected to believe that the 3 Brown boys and 2 girls built the barge with no plans , but that the city of Hoonah signed off on the potential environmental impact, that the “car” would’ve had in the harbor, if the ‘barge” came ap
    art and sunk the Suzuki!

  5. Listening to Billy be the victim in PFD case was beyond unbelievable!! First of all, surprised Discovery even put it on. Having followed the case, Billy got off with a slap on the wrist. Listening to him lie made my blood boil. Hope people see beyond his pile of $^%*&&&!!!! Anyways, I enjoyed your recap Ryan, great writing, I really laugh, it was right on point!!

  6. I have to say one more thing and that this was some of the best reading I’ve come across.Even most of the replies were excellent.I know that doesn’t mean much as I’m just a “bob in the basement” and should be pitied.Actually I came on line to find a good book on Joseph Kennedy and I did and now its to the Library.

  7. Ryan, thank you for what you do.

    I have stopped watching ABP out of complete disgust at pretty much everything/one in it and am now just going to rely on your recaps. I have seen enough of the show to imagine every bit of what you relay to us.

    Cannot thank you enough! Been waiting to see the new season’s recaps and you have outdone yourself

    Thank you

  8. What a delightfully written re-cap!! You, Ryan, are a genius with words. Keep it up!!!!!

  9. Spot on analysis as always! Hadn’t crossed my mind that Noah would have been going on the hauling trip (to stand around doing nothing?) if he hadn’t gotten injured. So now out of nowhere this girl is coming up from the lower 48?? ABP is getting sloppy..

    • Notice that Noah rarely ever goes out on the hauling jobs? So it’s not like his injury is a big deal.
      I also meant to include the part where Noah says his date with Corrina is an “experiment.” I also must be getting sloppy.

  10. Ryan, your write-ups kill me.
    But agree also with everything David said. The show used to be ironically entertaining. Now it’s so obviously fake that it is not interesting. The lying over the plea deal was final straw.
    And seizure disorders don’t go into ‘remission,’ as the narrator said. One takes a pill and voila, the seizure disorder is ‘under control.’ Obviously not every seizure problem can be controlled, but there are several good medications. All Billy likely ever had to do is take one.

    • I forgot to mention in my ramblings that the narrator actually called it “Billy’s seizure disorder”. I am sure that name came from a New England Journal of Medicine

  11. So this is what I missed watching the Stanley Cup playoffs while also checking in on a baseball game.

  12. The show is extremely entertaining but not in a positive way. These people are not only out of their element but also out of their minds. They are not victims. They are bums. They need mental help not a television show.

  13. I’m honestly not casting any stones bc I realize no one is perfect and all are unique in their own way but, these people really do need to be treated in some type of psychiatric facility. They ALL are beyond eccentric. They appear mentally unfit to live in any society.

  14. I finally watched the new episode and honestly wasn’t that excited about it. While watching it I didn’t find it funny, interesting or having any redeeming quality of why I would waste an hour to continue watching this through an entire season. It was just the same old made up crap recycled. I thought that maybe I could perhaps watch half the season, or at least 3-4 episodes before I burnt out. Not even close. Summer is in our busy time in Alaska and between building houses, running and softball the days are far too busy to waste on this. I just deleted the series recording on the DVR. I am done. But since I watched it…
    I cannot tell you how listening to Billy make himself and his family into victims rather than convicted criminals of the PFD fraud made my blood boil. Claiming he was wronged all because he could show travel receipts was complete and utter B&!!S^&%!! That isn’t how the system works. The state of Alaska doesn’t just want travel receipts. You have a ton of ways to prove you were living in the state like receipts for utilities, food, gas, ect ect. It is actually quite easy to prove you live somewhere. The Browns live in Hoonah when filming their show. Don’t think for one second the B@#$#@ you see on TV and think they are all alone for years at a time. The Browns were turned in by neighbors in Texas because they were living in Texas and not Alaska. That went on for years by the way and not just one period of time. They lied on documents (perjury) and stole money (theft and fraud). They were caught red handed. Also Scammer Billy claims that the trial would have went on and on. Yes it would have Billy… because you and your lawyer TWICE put in for delays that went on for around a year and a half. Wow, to turn this in to something where you are some sort of martyr and the government is after you is just such a lie as to what happened and what was said during the trail. You basically won the lottery after admitting to stealing $13,000 in money (which is multiple felonies) and only had to sit at home for a month with your ankle bracelet and watch TV and get a misdemeanor. I think Billy describing his PFD fraud permanently broke me on this show. Also keep in mind this is far from the first time Billy and his clan have been convicted of serious crimes that go back decades. Feel free to look it up. Billy saying he would never cheat Alaska is so ridiculous. I thought in a plea deal you have to admit your crimes and can’t later publicly claim you were railroaded. Apparently not.
    The whole hauling job is typical APB crud. The value of the new skiff is online at between $26,000 -$30,000. The old truck needs to go about 10-12 miles over the water. The guy giving them the job is a professional cargo hauler. So he is going to loan them an expensive boat for a season rather than just spend the 3-4 hours and do it himself? Yea right, that makes a lot of sense. Also I am sure he is going to put his business name on the line to have a bunch of hillbillies with no licenses, insurance or coast guard inspections and certifications sully his good name and livelihood to trust them to haul cargo on his behalf. Yea, sure. Also they went to the dump and WHOA, they happen to find about 25 barrels in amazingly good shape that somebody just threw away. In Alaska everything runs on gas, diesel and fuel oil. We don’t just throw away good barrels and in small towns like in Hoonah that would never happen. I probably have 5-6 of those barrels.
    Isn’t it funny after the Opal sank and they claim they lost absolutely everything they keep coming up with things they have had for years. This week we learn that Ami has had scarfs, bed sheets and other linens for years and years. Weird how that keeps happening.
    Funny how minutes before the family leaves for their hauling job Noah happens to mention that his date will be coming while they will be gone. Also unless he got hurt he would have been on the hauling job. But as luck would have it he can’t go on the hauling job because of his injury so now he can stay for his date. What a coincidence. So tired of their fake flown in dates out to the film site. Statistically for none of these kids to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend is just amazing. Do these kids wipe bear feces on themselves or something?
    Speaking of bears why does ABP portray them as roaming marauders that destroy everything in their path? Bears will break in to cabins or sheds if they smell food otherwise it isn’t that common. We own a remote cabin in bear country and have never had this problem. Bears tend to stay away from humans as much as possible. This show portrays them as roaming bands of wilderness ISIS fighters focused on total chaos. Of course in a show desperate for anything interesting to happen all we ever see is the same bear break in scene that is quite obviously set up with bait.
    Lastly I think Ryan deserves a moment of silence for having to watch this horrible show. I am glad money and a job are involved. This show used to be more fun, and bad in a train wreck sort of way. Now IMO it is just really bad and becoming quite repetitive and tedious. I couldn’t help but notice that the TV rating were well down from the highs ABP has had in the past. I am thinking I am not the only one who thinks the ABP shtick has worn quite thin. I will continue to read the recaps and chime in occasionally but my days of watching are over. I may wear black for a few days to mourn but I should get through it.

    • Well put, as usual. I’m surprised ABP acknowledged the PFD thing at all, but I’m not surprised that Billy played himself as the victim. Like you said before, AK won’t even pursue these cases unless there’s very solid evidence. And yes, Billy’s Bush Lawyer dragged this thing out. Billy got off with a slap on the wrist, and then he vilifies the state of AK on TV.
      Fortunately, my livelihood does not depend on ABP. I write about a lot of other stuff, and there is no shortage of bad TV being produced. ABP just happened to be lightning in a bottle for our mag’s website. I love writing about ABP, but I will also be relieved if/when it goes away. I’m so conflicted.

    • While I understand your reasons, David, I hope you change your mind and endure ABP with the rest of us because I love your comments and perspective as an Alaskan.

      • Well I appreciate that Lower48, I have sworn off this show before and some had it end up back on my DVR. It is really getting tedious to watch though. I am pretty close to yelling and throwing stuff at my TV and in the end that is probably not the formula for good mental health. We will see. It was really hard to even hit the play button. I only did it so I could stay current with this discussion.

      • Agreed, but not to let the Browns take up too much of my life but I just googled ABP TV ratings to grab a previous season as a comparison. Randomly I happened to grab the Jan 4-10 2016 weekly cable rating and ABP had a 1.2 rating with 1.481 million viewers in the coveted 18-49 age group. That was in the middle of the season. This was their premier episode that Discovery was hyping up with advertising and a TV marathon and that fell to an 18-49 rating of .73. That is a pretty huge drop. If my memory serves me correctly the all time high I remember is 1.52 18-49 rating with 5.5 million viewers. So basically ABP is down to half their high water mark with viewers and this was for a season premier. Probably not a good trend. Still one of the better rated shows on the night, but it is on Friday night in the summer. Expectations aren’t exactly sky high. Just my thoughts.

  15. I think I love you, Ryan Berenz. Epic review. You really ought to join our Friday Night ABP drinking game on facebook.

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About Ryan Berenz 2106 Articles
Some things I like (in no particular order): Sports, Star Wars, LEGO, beer, 'The Simpsons' Seasons 1-13, my family and the few friends who are not embarrassed to be seen with me. Why yes, I am very interested in how much you like 'Alaskan Bush People.' #LynxForLife