In the face of the economic meltdown, six men will risk everything to strike it rich mining for gold in the wilds of Alaska. Todd Hoffman of Sandy, Oregon, along with his father, are leading a group of greenhorn miners in search of the American dream and a new frontier. Gold fever is back, and the rush is on.
The stakes get higher at the Porcupine Creek prospect as reality sets in about just how little time they have to get to their gold. The miners start to rebuild the mining ghost town but the bears aren't so keen on their new neighbors — and they let them know it.
The crew races to set up the mining plant and start running dirt. When the families arrive from Oregon and question the lack of gold and the men's only mechanic becomes dangerously ill, the tension builds so high that Dorsey and Todd almost come to blows.
The team attempts to finally run potential pay dirt through the wash plant. But a visit from the Department of Fish and Game reveals a violation, jeopardizing their vital water supply to the mine. Then disaster strikes as Todd's daughter fights for her life.
The miners continue to run dirt but an equipment malfunction brings the operation to a halt. Meanwhile, James Harness collapses and Jimmy Dorsey drives a wedge between himself and the crew when he takes on an extra job to earn cash. But hard work late into the night finally hits a pay streak.
The miners' futures are on the line at Porcupine Creek. After 80 days, the miners are behind schedule, and the Hoffmans have run out of money and deliver the crew an ultimatum: find $10,000 worth of gold in the next two days, or the families have to head home to Oregon. Meanwhile, after Dorsey struggles with the wave table, tensions flare and fists fly.
With winter weather closing in, a gold recovery expert comes to help the rookies. Todd discovers a major design flaw in the equipment and is forced to make huge modifications. With the credit cards maxed out, he is forced to take desperate measures.
The crew remains in a deep financial hole. Veteran miner "Dakota" Fred thinks he can turn things around and he cranks up production faster than ever before. But when things start falling apart, tensions mount and Harness can't keep his frustration in.
Desperate to get to bedrock and large quantities of gold, Todd and Jack throw caution to the wind and dig deeper than ever before. With the brutal Alaskan winter threatening, they battle floods, cave-ins and equipment breakdowns.
With the arctic winter looming, the crew races against the clock. Rain and thawing snow flood the mine and Jack puts his life on the line as the glory hole caves in around the massive 100,000 pound excavator.
The crew arrives once again at Porcupine creek, where the miners began and ended their journey last season without much success. New materials, machinery, experience and blood are at hand, but will it be enough?
After Fred Hurt bought the Porcupine claim, the Hoffmans and the crew move 600 miles up north, into the Klondike, where they originally looked for a second claim to mine this year. They make repairs to a wash plant that they bought, after Hurt bought most of the Porcupine Creek equipment. Todd and Jack secure a new claim, with ground that hasn't yet been mined. Fred does some work on the Porcupine claim, building a new road for his bulldozers. Parker Schnabel takes over the Big Nugget Mine and sets about his first day as boss.
Jack and Todd go head to head over how to set up their new claim. At Porcupine Creek, Dakota Fred rips out the wash plant and finds gold that he forced the Hoffmans to leave behind. At Big Nugget mine, Parker continues to hit pay dirt.
The Hoffman crew confronts the permafrost that lies between them and the gold. As the Dakota Boys set up their new wash plant, Fred pushes his son too hard and Dustin storms off. Parker faces a breakdown that leaves his mining season at a stand still.
A crew rebellion forces Todd Hoffman to dig test holes on the claim. The tension mounts as they wait to see if they're sitting on a gold-rich paystreak or about to go bust. Then, Fred is forced to abandon mining as floods in North Dakota destroy his home.
The Hoffmans realize they could be losing thousands of dollars of gold out of the end of their sluices and they are forced to tear apart the washplant and rebuild. At Smith Creek, Parker turns into a lumberjack to get to his gold.
With the wash plant prepped, the Hoffman crew finally has their first clean-out of the season. Pressure mounts at Big Nugget where Parker is forced to run his grandfather's safety dirt. But when John decides to shut the wash plant down, Parker explodes.
The Hoffman crew risks its all to run through the night in a bid to finally break even for the season. Fred has to abandon his best paydirt yet when his excavator gets stuck in the pit. John Schnabel returns to the Big Nugget Mine after his heart attack.
The Hoffman crew spent five months and over quarter of a million dollars in a desperate attempt to find gold in Alaska. With previously un-aired material, this special reveals what went wrong and how the guys plan to hit the mother lode next season.
Three months after the end of the season, the Hoffman Crew and Parker Schnabel reveal problems and never before seen footage. During a meeting, the Hoffman Crew kick James Harness out of the crew for absences and lack of commitment.