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The Last Alaskans

The Last Alaskans

Photo Credit:  Animal Planet
  • Premiered: 
    May 25, 2015
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Animal Planet
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Reality
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Family
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Plot Synopsis

THE LAST ALASKANS is a one-hour reality series that chronicles the daily rituals of four families choosing to live in seclusion in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, a protected area home to thousands of native animals and pristine terrain spanning roughly the size of South Carolina. Currently, only a handful of families spread across seven permitted cabins are allowed to remain in the refuge. Within less than 100 years, all remaining permits will reach expiration, and there will be no human presence left. In the refuge, prop planes, canoes and dog sleds replace the modern luxuries that most people take for granted. Humans cohabit with the animal world and often share the same emotions and struggles while they discover that they are not necessary at the top of the food chain. In this series, the families must overcome harsh arctic conditions, frustrating setbacks, and aggressive wildlife during the weeks leading up to and throughout the winter season. The four families are:

Heimo and Edna Korth: The venerated godfather of the final frontier, Heimo Korth, has lived one of the most extreme lives of anyone in the arctic. As a teen, he left a blue-collar life as a welder in Wisconsin to become a mountain man in Alaska and never looked back. Eccentric, energetic and extremely likeable, Heimo and his wife, Edna, have raised four daughters 400 miles from civilization. Today, it's just the two of them, surviving off the land surrounded by memories of the triumphs and tragedies of a life lived in a world where the main challenges are to "keep your mind together and keep yourself alive."

Ray Lewis and Family: Father, husband and backwoods superman, Ray Lewis grew up in rural Michigan and values his ability to outsmart his prey, and he uses only the simplest methods possible. His rule of thumb: never trust anything with a battery. Over the course of his 30 years living off the land, he and his wife, Cindy, have raised three daughters, who are now teenagers. But their time as a family is coming to an end as the girls prepare to leave and venture out into the world to find their own unique path. But despite their impending departure, Ray's adventurous spirit still thrives, ever pushing him to rely on his own primitive survival skills, such as fashioning his own weapons and traps to provide for his family in the remote Alaskan wilderness.

Bob Harte: Bob Harte is infamous across Alaska's interior for surviving more brushes with death than anyone can remember including wildlife attacks, gunshot wounds, fires, crash landings in his prop plane and other traumatic events. Hailing from New Jersey and motivated by what he explains as a "wanderlust to go where I wanted to go, to live free, and to have a life I loved," Bob hitchhiked his way to Alaska after he dropped out of college. He has spent that last 40 years living in isolation, many of those with his daughter and former wife. A notoriously wild rebel who lives by his own rules, Bob brews his own beer in the bush and has a soft spot for his dogs, particularly his new puppy, Ruger.

Tyler and Ashley Selden: Inspired to leave their city lives and relocate to the arctic tundra after hearing about the of legend of Heimo Korth, the Seldens ventured to Alaska only two days after being married and managed to find a unique 'in' to the territory via an abandoned trap line. One of the younger couples to live so far removed from civilization in the refuge, the Seldens openly admit that they've survived by trial and error, learning the harsh reality of living this existence day by day. Rejecting most forms of mechanized technology, the Seldens utilize a dog team to sled hundreds of miles around their cabin in the winter.

Season 2 of THE LAST ALASKANS premiered on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 10pm ET/PT on Discovery. In the eight-episode second season, the group is joined by extended family members, with some members traveling to the refuge by boat for the first time in 20 years. Bob Harte and his daughter, Talicia, embark on a dangerous river journey from Fairbanks to the cabin where she was raised decades ago. Heimo Korth breaks ground on a new cabin with wife Edna, his daughters and grandchildren. The Lewis family journey back to their old homestead, navigating upriver through Alaska's interior on a house boat constructed over the past decade by patriarch Ray. Tyler and Ashley Selden continue to gain experience in the wilderness and contemplate adding a new member to their family. And 19-year-old Charlie Jagow, who was born in the refuge and remains one of the youngest permit-holders there, returns to build his first cabin. In the season opener, "Home Again," Alaska's fleeting summer fades and the countdown to the winter trapping season begins. Heimo constructs a temporary campsite for his family while he starts building a brand new cabin to replace their old one, now ruined by mold from the rising waters of a nearby river. Tyler and Ashley settle into their backcountry home and immediately begin to search for enough meat to last them the entire season. Ray Lewis leads his wife and three daughters to their original homestead, and experience dangerous setbacks that risk the life of his children. In the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, true freedom only grows from hard work, and THE LAST ALASKANS waste no time getting down to business. On Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 9pm ET/PT, Discovery premiered the third season of THE LAST ALASKANS. This season, as the Artic Refuge's final permit holders seek prosperity in a hungry land, a new generation steps into this age-old way of life. Eager young trappers, Tyler and Ashley Selden, and Charlie Jagow fully commit to a life among North America's most isolated, modern day pioneers. Aside from the day-to-day challenges, Tyler and Ashley face another surprise this season - welcoming their first child. Meanwhile, Bob Harte faces his mortality and flees the Alaskan winter and after 40 years in the bush, the legendary Heimo Korth yearns to pass the torch to his daughter Krin. In an unexpected twist, both new and old generations must now learn how to survive a winter with much lighter snowfall than past. The families have always relied on heavy snow for their mobility to trap. Without solid snow fall, dog sleds and snow machines are of no use. This winter's wolf packs move closer to the cabins, making trapping by foot all the more perilous. With pressure on their livelihood like never before, will The Last Alaskans overcome the tribulations that lie ahead this winter or will the homestead and its memories simply return to the wilderness?
Season 4 of THE LAST ALASKANS premiered on Sunday, November 25, 2018 at 10pm ET/PT on Discovery Channel. This season, they face obstacles brought on by the unforgiving environment, including rising predator competition and the aftermath of forest fires, as well as the deeply personal challenges of trying to raise small children in this world and even battling life-threatening illnesses. These families and trappers will be challenged like never before as they look to continue the unique life they've built in the refuge. No one knows the refuge like Bob Harte. After 40 years in the Alaskan Wilderness, he calls it his country, but due to the return of his cancer, Bob must move away from the refuge and into town with his daughter and granddaughter. This season, we will follow Bob's hard-fought battle to the end and get the chance to say goodbye. Bob's journey in the refuge allowed him to live free - this was his home and where his heart will always be. For Heimo and Edna Korth, this season brings an opportunity they have dreamt of for years: their daughter Krin and her family will attempt to survive a winter in the refuge. Heimo has raised all three of his daughters here, and he hopes for Krin to continue the tradition he and Edna have built over the decades. Heimo will do all he can to pass on the torch of survival to Krin, her husband Scott and their young son Colby, but it will come down to the success of their hunting and trapping season to convince her. There's also another new face this season, as Tyler and Ashley Selden bring their baby girl Sidney into the refuge. With a new and dependent member, the Seldens look to improve their property and try to turn it into a functioning homestead that can support a family, but they face the challenge of balancing the demands of being parents, as well as providers for their newest member. Charlie Jagow faces one of his toughest challenges this season in the aftermath of the summer fires. He assesses the damage from a bird's-eye view, which reveals miles of black forest. Charlie now must re-establish 40 years' worth of family traplines, which could potentially take two decades to rebuild. It's an impossible task, but with the help of maps and instructions Bob left behind, Charlie will follow in Bob's footsteps and look to come out on top this trapping season. The obstacles of this season, though significant, serve a great purpose for the families -- they have a rebirth in the refuge. Through ingenuity, hard work and a bit of luck, the families work to overcome and rebuild their homes, trails and lives for the success of their future in the Alaskan wilderness.

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Half Yard Productions


  • Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - Alaska USA