Is Homestead Rescue Authentic or a Hoax?

Did you know that more than two million Americans have decided to take their lives “off-grid” in pursuit of a simpler life? That’s right – two million people decided to leave their iPhones and brunch plans back with the rest of civilization. To the Raney family, this was just another day at home – they are homesteaders, also known as off-gridders.

Misty Raney, Marty Raney, Matt Raney / Matt Raney, Mart Raney, Misty Raney / Misty Raney / Marty Raney

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

For the Raney family, homesteading is a lifestyle choice centered around depending on the land and yourself for survival. Sadly, finding the right balance and tools for living off-grid successfully is quite complicated. Sustainable agriculture, renewable power, and the other aspects of successful homesteading are all such complicated topics that many need guidance. Luckily for homesteaders in Southeast Alaska, they had the Raney family to help them!

Escaping Technology in the Wilderness

The digital age came hard and fast; we knew that technology had the potential to become a huge part of our lives, but we didn’t know exactly how significant it would be. Now that it has briskly found its way into our everyday lives, it’s no wonder that so many folks find themselves completely consumed by it – wanting to break out of their routine and try something new.

Marty Raney sits outdoors talking to the camera.

Source: Facebook

One family that never quite got into that technology mix is the Raney family, which is at the center of the Discovery Channel’s Homestead Rescue. Marty Raney, with the help of his daughter, Misty, a farmer, and his son, Matt, who is a hunter and fisherman, come to the rescue of many struggling homesteaders to help them get their act together for a successful life off-grid!

Is Homestead Rescue Real?

The question of whether Homestead Rescue legitimate or not seems to come up frequently. There are certainly some levels of truth to the show; the Raneys are professionals in the world of survivalism. Whether or not the show is scripted, there’s no denying that this family knows what they’re doing when it comes to nature and survival.

An arid field in a publicity still from the show.

Source: godiscovery.com

Throughout the years, the Raney family has been accused of fabricating storylines just to make the cameras happy. One couple even sued Homestead Rescue, claiming that the show is fake. Some have even claimed that the family’s methods are not authentic. Either way – take it with a grain of salt. It is reality television, after all!

Most Homesteaders Struggle at First

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but most homesteaders need to learn the ropes at first. The population of those choosing to homestead has increased drastically in recent years, especially because many people have noticed their lives were being controlled by technology. That’s where Homestead Rescue comes in.

Three chickens in the wild.

Source: Instagram /@cultivatingwild

In this original Discovery Channel series, many city folks found themselves testing their limits with life in the wilderness. Fortunately for those coming to the Alaskan bush to seek a life in nature, they have the support of the Raney family; they meet with the people trying a new chapter in their lives and give them the tools for successful survival.

The Raneys Aren’t Alone

Though the Raneys are at the center of the show Homestead Rescue, they are far from the only family with expertise in the area. This famous family may be the only one with their own reality show for now, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only one in the market for one!

The Raney's sitting next to a daylight bonfire.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

On YouTube, the Arms Family Homestead has its own channel. They provide an intimate view of how they make life on their farm work, along with step-by-step videos on how they grow their food and every other aspect of farm life. They even have a video of their bison escaping – oops!

Homestead Rescue Wasn’t Marty’s First Rodeo

Though he doesn’t identify himself as a “television watcher,” Marty Raney, the expert at the center of Homestead Rescue, is no stranger to the world of cameras and filming crews. Even if it wasn’t what he intended for his life plan, he seems to be adept in the world of reality television.

Three men are standing in the freezing weather of Alaska.

Marty Raney, Matt Raney, Brentt Sas. Source: natgeotv.com

Raney was at the center of another show before Homestead Rescue. He starred on all three seasons of National Geographic Channel’s Ultimate Survival Alaska. Following in his father’s footsteps, Marty’s son, Matt, was also a contestant on the show in the first season! Marty appeared on all three seasons of the show.

How Much Do the Raneys Get Paid for Homestead Rescue?

A little-known fact is that the show not only has access to ample resources, but they also have a huge budget. If you’re wondering what kind of money the Raney family makes for starring in their reality show, look no further. The family hasn’t released specifics, but we did some digging…

Marty and Mollee sit on their wooden porch next to a bear wooden sculpture.

Marty Raney, Mollee Raney. Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

According to Business Insider’s report from June 2016 on reality television profits, they identified that “A” players, or those at the center of a show, make somewhere between $30,000 and $10 million per episode. That’s a huge gap – but you can guess that the family makes somewhere around $50,000 and $100,000 per episode. Wow!

Marty’s Experience on Ultimate Survival Alaska

National Geographic Channel’s Ultimate Survival Alaska was a test unlike any other on television. The show focused on survivalist men and women, who were randomly dropped off in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness and expected to fend for themselves. How do you think you’d be able to handle all of that?

Marty is rafting.

Matt Raney. Source: natgeo.com

Marty Raney was the only person to appear in all three seasons! However, he was never the winner of the competition. In fact, in Season Three, his team of Alaskans placed last. Some seasons were broken up between endurance, military, mountaineers, and woodsmen, though the final season changed mountaineers and woodsmen to Lower 48 and Alaskans.

Father-Son Bonding

In their first exposure to showing off their survival skills on reality television, two-thirds of the Homestead Rescue key players appeared on the first season of this National Geographic Channel survivalist-themed show. Father Marty and Son Matt appeared together in their original television debut.

Marty and Matt are cooking and eating in the wild.

Marty Raney, Matt Raney, Brentt Sas. Source: natgeo.com

At one point, Matt went missing, leaving his father and another teammate to go looking for him. Somehow, they got separated from each other, leaving Matt to have to figure out how to get by without his teammates. The teammates kayaked for miles and eventually found his water bottles tied together, hanging over an iceberg.

One Big Homesteading Family

The show is centered around the Raney family – Marty, Matt, Misty – but that’s not the entire family! Matt and Misty are the only two children who wanted to be involved. As it turns out, they’re actually the babies of the family! They have two older siblings who chose not to be involved.

Marty, Matt, Misty, and Mollee sit and eat amongst other people surrounding a campfire.

Source: Facebook

This family has lived their entire lives off the grid, surrounded by the harshest conditions nature has ever shown us. That will undoubtedly bring family members closer to each other than ever before. Especially in a world where most people are connected to the rest of society, it helps to have a family with shared experiences.

They’re a Close Family

Shared experiences bring people together, so it’s no surprise to hear that a family like the Raneys are very close. Marty married Mollee, a girl from his neighborhood. They met when they were young, and he was instantly infatuated. They went on to build a life complete with a strong family dynamic.

The Raney family is posing for a portrait under snow and stormy weather.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

The countryside couple had four children all in all, having two before Matt and Misty. Their firstborn is Melanee, followed by Miles. Both children are relatively private people, which explains why they wouldn’t want to be on a reality television show! They’ve got an in if they want to be involved, though!

All About Matt Raney

Matt Lorel Raney was born on July 1st, 1982, in Anchorage, Alaska. He is the baby of four children, so maybe his survival skills came from proving himself to his siblings! He was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps as he was raised in the wilderness and taught necessary survival skills from a young age.

Portrait of Matt wearing a brown hat.

Source: National Geographic Channels

True to Alaskan form, Matt fell in love with his home state. He rarely leaves, if ever. He likes his lifestyle, and as that’s all he knows, who could blame him? He started learning animal husbandry and farming from a young age, giving him the skills necessary to survive in the wild.

The Hunter of All Hunters

Matt Raney is part of a new generation of hunters and is the primary food provider for his family. Throughout the years, he has become an expert tracker and hunter and has taken his talents across the dense Alaskan wilderness.

Matt is sitting with his wife and son, holding two baby goats.

Katie Raney, Matt Raney’s son, Matt Raney. Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

“I’ve had encounters with bears, wolves, and run naked with the caribou. Our family has embraced a lifestyle of subsistence. Through all the years, our only objective has been to fill out a freezer full of salmon, halibut, caribou, doll sheep, and moose,” the younger Raney son stated.

He Hasn’t Bought Meat in Ages

After sharing his experiences on hunting, Matt revealed something shocking: “We’ve had good years and bad, but I can’t remember the last time I ate at a fast-food place or bought meat from a market.” Imagine being so adept at providing for your family from nature that you didn’t need to depend on anyone else?

Matt is posing next to a wild bear.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

Matt and his father hunt together, along with a pair of pack mules. When he goes fishing, he prefers to spend time with his sister, the ultimate fishing boat companion. She lives between Maui, Hawaii, and Alaska, so any time they can spend together is precious!

All About Misty Raney

The third-born child in the family was born on November 9th, 1979, in Sitka, Alaska. Misty has taken charge of her own hunting lifestyle. She took her talents to Hawaii in her married life, though she channels her Alaskan lifestyle into everything that she does in her life on the island.

Misty is holding and petting a baby goat.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

From a young age, she loved crafting and was artistic. This was a good indication of the path she would take later, working as a carpenter. She would follow her father and older siblings around, observing their every move so she could someday follow in their footsteps exactly.

Misty Will Tell It to You Straight

She is a passionate homesteader who has no problem airing her concerns or criticisms of the homesteads she comes into contact with. She just wants to help, after all! She is able to turn vegetables and meat into the supply that carries her and her family for ages.

Matt and Misty are sitting on Elvis Presley's porch.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

“I love to swing a hammer, and to construct things from a few simple materials. It’s weird, but I do. Anything to do with building, gardening, livestock, hunting, accessing water, and more, my family thrives in helping others get a handle on their own situation. Alaska keeps us tough,” the survivalist daughter said.

From the Ground Up

In addition to growing much of her own food in Alaska’s harsh agricultural climate, she is a composting aficionado. She is devoted to living off the land and believes everyone living off-grid should dedicate themselves to composting. It provides fertilizer and cuts down on waste!

Misty sits in an excavator.

Source: Instagram /@mistyraneybilodeau

Though they spend their winters surfing on the Hawaiian island of Maui, Misty, her husband Maciah, a carpenter and surfer, and their five-year-old son spend the summer months in Alaska. The couple built their own 800-square-foot cabin from the ground up on their land in Hatcher Pass, Alaska, not far from her family’s home.

The Hawaiian Homestead

Hawaii is a series of truly gorgeous islands filled with lush jungles and plenty of farmland. In fact, other celebrities also own and operate farms in Hawaii – do you think that Misty and Maciah have ever helped Roseanne Barr operate her macadamia nut farm? Fortunately, they are around to help everyone else, too.

Misty takes a selfie with a fishing friend on a Hawaiian beach.

Source: Instagram /@mistyraneybilodeau

Her winters are spent surfing and helping Hawaii locals learn how to live off the land. She spends her time teaching and helping those in her community how to homestead successfully. Though she loves her life in Hawaii, she never misses her family’s big summer hunt back in Alaska!

About the Head of Household

Marty Raney left school and his life behind when he set off to become a logger in the camps of Southeast Alaska. He began his adventures in 1974 and never turned back! His first home in Alaska wasn’t just off-grid; it was a floating logging cabin on Prince of Wales Island. It wasn’t in great shape!

Portrait of Marty Raney.

Source: natgeo.com

After marrying his sweetheart Mollee Roestel, the couple moved to an incredibly remote homestead in Haines, Alaska. Their family home was located in an area with a high concentration of Alaskan brown bears, meaning that they always had to keep an eye out for furry friends in the neighborhood.

He Took Alaska by Storm

The Raney clan ran into their fair share of tough times living out in the wilderness. They often lived without power, plumbing, heat… If you can think of it, they probably lived without it. Living without the conveniences of modern life inspired Marty Raney and his family to be creative and resourceful.

Marty wears 80 pounds of locked moose antlers.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

No wonder why Marty’s family is super close – a family that pushes to survive together, thrives together. He would fish for salmon and bring his family on annual moose, caribou, and sheep hunts. His children followed in his family business footsteps, running Alaska Stone and Log.

They’ve Made Southeast Alaska Their Home

The Raney family has been living in Southeast Alaska since he first arrived in 1974 from North Bend, Washington. They remain in the region to this day, having spent more than 45 years living in the Alaskan wilderness. Marty and Mollee settled in a remote area with the intention of making it work.

Marty is working with wood as he builds handrails for the stairs.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

Haines, Alaska, is on the northern part of the state’s panhandle. Their home is located at the convergence of the largest World Heritage Site in North America and is near the 48,000-acre Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Haines’s tourism website refers to the town as “Alaska’s adventure capital!”

Their Adventures at Chilkoot Pass

When all the kids were younger than 10 years old, they were brought on the ultimate adventure. The entire family followed a historical path and got to experience the Alaskan wilderness for all it was worth. The family followed in the footsteps of the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush miners.

Mollee is caring young baby Matt Raney on her back.

Mollee Raney, Matt Raney. Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

The family trekked the entirety of Chilkoot Pass, which is a high mountain pass on the border between the United States and Canada. The Chilkoot trail is 33 miles long and draws over 10,000 visitors. You can only imagine what that family dealt with along the way, though Raney believes that “the absence of luxuries” is what builds the best character.

The Key to Authenticity

When Marty Raney found himself in a position to have his own show, one of his main concerns was the level of authenticity the show would have. Since Marty and his son Matt had previously appeared on another survival-centered reality show, being authentic was beyond important to them.

Marty Raney is being filmed as he sits and drinks coffee behind a campfire.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

The family knew that it would be difficult to avoid any scripting whatsoever, which could be why many fans later speculated that the show was scripted. They did what they could to avoid following a script and ultimately created a show that they felt best depicted their lifestyle.

Discovery Vouched for Them

Sure, the family claimed the show was authentic, but who is to say if it’s really that way? The family was adamant about how they designed the show, and fortunately, both production companies involved backed them up. Both Discovery and Raw agreed with the Raneys’ bid for authenticity!

Headshot of Marty in the wild Alaska snow.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

The Raney family is so adamant about being real that they claim it’s even more credible than National Geographic Channel’s Ultimate Survival Alaska – the first show that they appeared on. That says a lot. So even if fans disagree, at least they’re confident in what they’ve made!

The Family Business

Though the Raney clan has spent their recent years living off the land, that doesn’t mean they’re always scavenging to survive. The Raneys own and run a family business, Alaska Stone and Log. The siblings share responsibility for the company on a day-to-day basis, even through their adult lives.

The Raney's are starting to rebuild in lava.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

Every member of the family has their own skills honed for homesteading. Farming, hunting, building, carpentry – the list goes on and on. These skills acquired throughout their lives have helped them all keep up with the family business, along with keeping up with their own homesteads.

Misty Got Married

Misty no longer has the last name Raney, but it’s more than a name – it’s in her blood! The two have been an item since back in 2000. Her husband, Maciah Bilodeau, is a carpenter, but he primarily identifies as a professional surfer. He grew up in Hawaii on the island of Kauai.

Misty is getting emotional while Maciah hugs her.

Misty Raney, Maciah Bilodeau. Source: Instagram /@mistyraneybilodeau

Not only did the two get married, but they also committed to raising a child together. Their son, Gauge, is growing up too quickly, in their eyes. He’s had the privilege of growing up with two parents who can teach him how to survive in even the most terrifying of circumstances. He is in the Raney bloodline, after all!

They Embrace Family Game Nights

Coming from a line of survivalists, the Raney clan has something in common with many other families across the U.S.A., and that’s game night! However, they do it a little differently than families sitting around a table playing Uno or Monopoly. They do it in their own style!

Matt and Misty posing after a family fishing competition.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

The Raneys take family game night to the next level. They do it by showing off their homesteading skills! Can you imagine how competitive it gets? They’re a family of survivalists, so it must be a pretty cut-throat competition. The kids usually compete against the parents – no one backs down!

Mountaineering Family Members

This probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but Marty Raney is also an expert mountaineer. He has climbed Alaska’s famous Mount Denali on several occasions, and he often acts as a guide for other hikers hoping to be as successful in the wilderness as him. How did he get that good?

Matt is making a stop after hiking in snowy Alaska mountains with two friends.

Source: National Geographic Channels

Marty is even available to take you – yes, YOU, precious reader – on your own mountaineering adventure. For around five grand, you can utilize his mountain man mentality to have your own once-in-a-lifetime experience. Or, as Marty and his family see it, just another day at the office!

Marty and Misty, Climbing Mountains Together

Marty and Misty have gone up to the summit with each other on many occasions. Their first major climb together was actually made into a documentary in Japan. Cool, right? Well, that particular climb became its own kind of challenge when the two found themselves running into problems along the way.

Maty takes a selfie with Misty before hiking.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

The two Raneys were joined by nine Japanese climbers, and unfortunately, they ran into some trouble along the way. Marty got sick somewhere along the climb, and the two had to make some tough decisions for their survival and the survival of those they were traveling with. No hike is worth your life, Marty – good thing you realized that!

Helping Homesteads in Crisis

The show is centered around this expert family’s attempts to help families who struck out to homestead but weren’t having the best luck. They helped families rebuild their homes and helped homesteaders who were in over their head get to a safe and comfortable position to be successful.

Marty is climbing on a cherry picker.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

Not every family that crossed their path was in the same desperate need as others, but they definitely had a lot to work through. Some families had homes standing on tires, while others lost large amounts of livestock and needed help winterizing. Without the Raneys, they might have failed entirely!

The Raney Family’s Net Worth

Marty’s personal net worth is around one million dollars, but only a small part of that comes from their reality show appearances. Seriously – the family has built their business from the ground up, and Marty has made himself a millionaire through his own hard work.

The Raney's are filmed as they walk through the forest.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

Not only has he successfully run his own business, but he also is a recording artist. Though much of his music has caused controversy, he’s still able to make music that would make help him an Alaskan folk music legend. Unfortunately, though, one song, in particular, got him into some trouble.

Adam & Steve

After six seasons of Homestead Rescue, some of Marty Raney’s personal and questionable views came to light. He had already been gracing the small screen for a few seasons when a song from his 1997 album, “Strummit From the Summit,” came to light, and the network instantly tried to distance itself from it.

Marty is sitting and playing the ukulele.

Source: Instagram /@matt.raney

The song in question, entitled “Adam & Steve,” was seen as rather homophobic and has since been taken down from Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon music after Deadline Hollywood approached Discovery, Raney, and the show’s producers for comments. He was caught in a sticky situation!

The Problematic Album

The rest of his album is just a bunch of happy-go-lucky country songs – nothing that would necessarily turn heads. Unfortunately, though, it appears that his songs did more damage than he could have ever thought possible. More than that, he continued to put his foot in his mouth, showing his real views.

Marty and Bryan Geary are recording at the studio.

Marty Raney, Bryan Geary. Source: Tumblr

At one point, he is recorded as stating something truly horrible. “Hey, maybe we should march in our own parade and march with women by our sides, chanting ‘Women make much better brides.’ And then do something they can’t do, hold up our children as our proof.” That just sounds like you’re being rude, Marty!

The Song Exposed Discovery Show Work Culture

A source brought the song to Deadline Hollywood’s attention, right as there were ongoing discussions around the work culture on Raw’s Discovery shows. This was following the mysterious disappearance of Terrence Woods, a production assistant who vanished while filming on the Gold Rush franchise in 2018.

Portrait of Terrence Woods.

Terrence Woods. Photo by Terrence Woods Sr.

In Deadline’s long and detailed article about the disappearance of Woods, a source described a very unwelcoming and “blokey” atmosphere. Most members of the cast and crew would fume at “woke culture,” which ultimately struck a chord with other staff members who felt it necessary to share their experiences to back these claims.

The Fallout That Followed

Without fail, the companies involved with filming the show did not miss a beat to address the song. A spokeswoman from Raw stated that “Raw has no knowledge of this song (which was released 23 years ago). We are shocked by its content, and we do not share any of its sentiment.” Thanks for that, Raw.

Marty poses next to the production crew from Homestead rescue.

David Williams, Jason Dale. Source: Facebook

Separately, All3Media America had recently taken on the production of the show also added their thoughts on the matter: “We were not aware of this song and absolutely do not share the views and sentiments that are expressed.” It was speculated that the show might be canceled, but it still seems to be running.

Troubling Lyrics

Without giving too much attention to a heinous message, his lyrics are clear as day. It’s important to take a look at some of his harshest lines to show that there is little room for speculation about his message. He didn’t really seem to have much of a defense for himself, either.

Marty is performing onstage.

Source: Facebook

“I believe in Adam and Eve, I don’t believe in Adam and Steve / I believe in Mom and Dad, I don’t believe in Dad and Brad / I believe in she and me, I don’t believe in me and he / I believe in boy meets girl, I don’t believe in boy meets Merle….” Hopefully, he learned his lesson from that!

Kim and Josh’s Homestead Rescue Lawsuit

When the Raneys started helping wannabe homesteaders get off the ground, they knew they might run into problems with people questioning their authenticity. A couple that was featured on an episode of the Discovery show’s first season, Kim and Josh Zabec, definitely had a problem with their experience.

Kimberly and Josh are posing for a Christmas photo with a dog and a cow.

Kimberly Zabec, Josh Zabec. Source: Instagram /@revolutionaryrootsfarm

In the second episode of the first season, the Raneys traveled from Alaska to Virginia to help the couple, who owned Revolutionary Roots Farm, after pigs ruined a portion of their homestead. Later, the couple turned to social media to criticize their experience with the show itself.

Sending Mixed Signals

One of the Zabecs’ primary criticisms was that they claimed they were initially approached about this show on the premise of a show that highlighted the experiences of successful homesteaders, as opposed to ones that were in need of help. Did they know that “rescue” was in the title?

Kimberly is riding on a cow.

Kimberly Zabec. Source: Pinterest

Instead, the couple was portrayed as having no clue what they were doing on their farm. The results of the lawsuit are not very clear – it’s not even clear if they settled or actually went to court. Either way, it looks like a flaw on both sides. Let’s make sure the lines of communication are more clear next time, OK?

Is the Show Real, or Is It Scripted?

Throughout the years, the Raney family has been accused of faking some of their storylines for the cameras. Much like any other “reality” show, many viewers have speculated how authentic everything is. That begs the question: Is Homestead Rescue scripted? We know they take their authenticity seriously…

Matt is sitting next to Marty as he drives a van

Source: Discovery Channel.

In his July 2017 interview with Fox News, he discussed his role on the show. “[I’m] not necessarily [there] to give them a handout but to give them a hand up… Everyone wants a handout, and I’m sensitive to those people, and those people I don’t visit… I’m more impressed by the doers and the workers than I am the talkers and the dreamers,” he stated.

Other Participants Defended the Raneys

While the show was under heat, a couple named Wren and Ini (their last names were not shared on the program) came to the Raney family’s defense. They divulged details in their interview with Ozark County Times. “The Raneys are definitely genuine people, although there is, of course, a little hype and drama on screen,” the couple shared.

Ini is standing outside her house.

Source: Facebook

“Marty is for sure an intense dude and very kind and caring. They all truly came to help and are big-hearted, hard-working, real people. What impressed me most about Marty was that often when the cameras weren’t rolling, he would be out there working, bare-chested and sweaty.”

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