Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Frontier House: PBS Series

I recently watched Frontier House that aired on PBS back in 2002.  Frontier House is a series of 6 episodes where 3 modern-day families went back to live the life of a family in 1883 for 5 months. Back in 1883, people came from all over to claim their 160 acres of land, but only after living on their frontier for 5 years:  1 out of 3 families survived the life on the frontier.
The families that PBS chose were pretty interesting. 

  • The Brooks Family: This family is an African American family, which they said were more common on the frontier back in 1883 than books portray.  At the beginning of the series, Nate and his father, Rudy were at the homestead for the first five weeks to help build the homestead.  Then Nate’s (real) fianc√©, Kristen came and they got married on the homestead. Rudy left the frontier and let his new daughter-in-law resume life with her new husband on the frontier.
  • The Clune Family:  This family is from Malibu, California where the father was an executive for a company and they appear to be pretty affluent.  The mother, a native of Ireland, was a stay-at-home mom and they had 3 children.  For some reason, the Clune family also brought their niece to the Frontier House.
  • The Glenn Family: The Glenn family is a blended family from Tennessee.  This is the second marriage for the mother and her children are from her previous marriage.  Throughout the series, you can pretty much watch the relationship of the mother and her husband unravel – it is really sad, because the children were thriving on the frontier. 
For 5 months, these families had to help build their own cabins (except the Glenn Family who got a pre-built cabin in their scenario.)  From the very beginning, the families got a real taste of what it was like to travel to their destination and what obstacles the pioneers faced (I wont spoil it for you – you have to watch it!) As the viewer, you get to watch what day-to-day life was like for the women, children and the husbands.  It was great!

I often romanticize about living life back in the 1800’s, but after watching this series, the “simple life” was not so simple!  I would love living off the land, but I do have my limits.  Anyone interested in homesteading or learning about what life was like back in 1883, I highly recommend this educational DVD!

DISCLAIMER:  I was in no way compensated to provide a positive or negative review on this video.  I watched the DVD out of my own curiosity and all opinions expressed are my own.   


  1. sounds really interesting. I will have to see if I can check it out at the library. :) Thanks for sharing.

  2. A while back a couple friends voted my husband and I most likely to win Frontier House! I had never heard of it before. Since then I have watched bits and pieces of the series, but never the whole thing. I'll have to see if I can find a copy Maybe netflix?...

  3. Homemade Alaska - you may very well be able to get it from Netflix! I was able to get the copy to watch from the library. Good luck, and I'd love to hear what you both thought of it!

  4. We are using this in school now! Thanks for mentioning it! Ashley loves the show!