In the first two seasons of the Discovery Channel's reality show Gold Rush, Alaskan gold miners battled nature, accidents, injuries, breakdowns, fights and walk-outs in pursuit of pay dirt.
Most miners had already lost their construction industry jobs and staked everything on striking it rich, despite little gold-mining experience.
Now, in the third season of the popular series, one of the mining teams finally hits the mother lode. But which one?
"There's actually a huge gold rush going on up in Alaska and Canada right now," says the show's veteran miner "Dakota" Fred Hurt , who will only admit to seeing "the best gold yet" at his fabled Porcupine Creek mining site.
"The gold is there, it's a big treasure hunt and we're having a lot of fun getting it. So we've got some great things in store."
Now approaching his 70th birthday, Hurt mines Porcupine Creek - in the Alaskan Panhandle - with his son Dustin and a small crew. As both hail from North Dakota, they earned the nickname "the Dakota boys" from other miners on the show who compete for glory at nearby Big Nugget, Quartz Creek and Indian River in The Yukon, Canada.
Hurt came to mining with a background as a commercial diver and heavy-duty construction worker.
"It was kind of a natural step," he says with an old-man chuckle. "I retired at 60 but went gold mining at various places. Three years ago I moved up to North Dakota near Dustin so that every summer we can take off up to Alaska to go gold mining."
Along with Alaska, he's also mined in Nevada, Montana and the Arctic Circle, where he found the most gold in one shift.
"I found 50 ounces (1.41kg) in one day there, which is worth in the neighbourhood of $70,000 to $80,000 It was quite a thrill to see that amount of gold that quickly. But you know what, just the fuel expenses run at about $1000 per day, so you better find some gold for that. And it's not quite as easy as it looks."
While often portrayed as, "the JR of Gold Rush - the guy people love to hate", Hurt says he's just a likable guy doing a tough job.
"You have to keep people interested with a bit of a narrative. But I can tell you that 85 to 90 per cent of what you see on the show is absolutely the real thing. You're working with people, so there's always conflicts and drama, and you're working on a gold mine, so something unexpected always happens. And the stakes are always high."
Hurt says he relishes gold mining as "the adventure of a lifetime".
"I enjoy it immensely. It's like a dream of every guy to work hard his whole life with his nose to the grindstone and then go out and do something he really wants to go do. It's that sense of adventure - that pioneer spirit - that I'm doing. And making big money is not my game."
"But I always joke to the producers of the show 'If you want a miner, call me. If you want an actor, pay me like one'."
'It's a big treasure hunt and we're having a lot of fun getting it. So we've got great things in store.'