Books by Mississippi Writers 1996-2010
By Simon Shaw, Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith Pocket Books (Hardcover, $29.00, ISBN: 0743442709, 5/2002) Go west with PBS in this behind-the-scenes look at the television series that sent modern-day Americans “back in time” to the harsh frontier of 1880s Montana. America’s period of westward expansion has long captured the imagination of history buffs and adventurous spirits; the era seems to embody the very daring enterprise that made America what it is today. As a result, frontier life has often been romanticized in television and film. But all of that changed with PBS’s Frontier House. Bringing the trials and triumphs of nineteenth-century homesteaders to life in a way we might never have imagined, Frontier House re-creates life in the wilderness for three households of spirited twenty-first-century Americans and documents their six-month experience for television. Roughing it on their allotted plots of land while all of America watches, these brave souls relinquish grocery stores, microwaves, and plumbing in favor of raising chickens, churning butter, and outhouses. Gone are all the modern amenities they’re accustomed to. In their place: just the will to do whatever it takes to survive. Covering the inception of the show, the historical basis for the lifestyle re-created, the selection of the participants, the logistical challenges of production, and the impact of this experiment on the participants—along with profiles of actual nineteenth-century homesteaders—Frontier House is a first-rate companion to one of the most innovative and fascinating reality shows of our time.