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About this Series

H he idea for such a venture sprung out of a popular series THE 1900 HOUSE, which was shown on PBS last year. In that series, the Bowler family volunteered to travel back in time to the era of Victorian Britain, spending three months living every detail: no electricity, shampoo, or aspirin. Instead, they struggled with gas lighting, a range stove with a mind of its own, whalebone corsets, and a new set of family values. Their fascinating encounter with the past stirred a lot of interest, and many people contacted us to ask if a period of American history could be explored in such a way. FRONTIER HOUSE has done just that. This time, three family groups (brothers, sisters, cousins, and individuals were all welcome to apply) traveled back in time to the days of the Wild West, living as settlers did in on the frontier back in the 1880s. No one could pretend it was be easy, but their story gave us a vivid picture of how far we have come, maybe even a little of what we have lost along the way.

So how did this happen? Preparations were made in Montana for the filming of the series. We selected a beautiful valley in a remote corner in which to locate the project. There, each of our selected families took over their own 160-acre plot of homestead land. Through late spring, summer, and early fall of 2001, we observed their complete immersion into the lifestyle -- how they fared with building their home, tending their livestock, planting food, catching fish in the creek -- all without the assistance of modern technology. Their triumphs and frustrations provide a unique account of one of the most important, and often romanticized, periods in American history.

Would the families have survived the winter? After assessing the homes and families' plans, our experts on frontier life have weighed in with their verdicts. Read the evalutions of the families:

FRONTIER HOUSE Exhibit: Nevada City, Montana

Virginia City (FRONTIER HOUSE Training Site) and Nevada City Web site Virginia%20City/Virginia%20City%20index.htm



The Homesteaders
Animation of homesteaders
Media Showcase

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