Pioneer Quest, a year in the Real West, episode 1

Pioneer Quest, a year in the Real West, is a Canadian show, broadcast in 2001.
The first in the ‘Quest’ series, followed by Quest for the Bay (2002), Klondike: The Quest for Gold (2003) and Quest for the Sea (2004).

The idea behind the series is to send two couples ‘back in time’ to the 1870s and live as settlers of the era.

The show starts all the way at the beginning of this project, telling potential participants that this experience is going to be hell.
I love being allowed to see part of how this show came to be.

And, to my amazement, this is not just a few days or even weeks of ‘time travel’, no this project is going to last a whole year!
Imagine that, this is not just a long time to take part in something so extreme, it also means you’ll probably have to cancel your rent, empty your house, quit your job, etc.
And not seeing your loved ones for 12 months!
But… if they manage to hold out till the end, they will get 100.000 Canadian Dollars.
It is going to be rough, even for people doing it the modern way.
And of course there are plenty of volunteers.
I’d volunteer myself.

The great thing about this project being so tough and will last so long, is that the production team wants serious contestants.
Not someone who may be amusing, cause lots of drama and be good tv… but who then leaves.
They want serious people, who are willing to do hard work, who may actually succeed.
If the families quit, they have no show.

Nice to see how the participants even get a police, medical and psychological test.
Good idea, I know a few shows where they probably should have done that but forgot…

I like the couples they choose, they seem like nice, hard-working people.
One elderly couple, one young couple.
Impressive, just 12 minutes into the show, I already like both couples.
They seem like nice people, but maybe that is because they are Canadians and we Dutch people have a thing for them, ever since 1944/1945.
Just a shame none of them have children.

These people are well prepared, having had experience living in the countryside, hunting, living on farms or in log cabins.
This sounds like a fantastic experience, I’m jealous, I’d love to do this.

Saying goodbye is sad but I wish the narrator reminded us viewers that such a goodbye over a century often was a goodbye for life.

Time to get the clothes sorted out, I love that the tv show lets us see this and hasn’t cut it out like most do.
It is interesting and fun.
I also love the talk the production company has with the participants, about integrity  and honesty, do not compromise.

First minus point; modern glasses.
Not that difficult to get right.
But so far all the other things look quite authentic, and there is a lot of it, packed on that wagon.

4 hours of travel clearly was hell on these people… and the original homesteaders would have travelled for days, weeks, even months.

Not sure if a pioneer woman would be walking around in her long johns, but who knows.
I’m having doubts about the elderly couple, everything is going very difficult and it is only the second day.
Already there are arguments and discussions with the production team, this is not going as well as I thought it would
But, at least they show it to us.
I know that in many of these shows there are many issues, problems and compromises but they hide them from the viewer.
Some mistakes were made, they always are, and the participants are not moaning or complaining without reason.
The young man says that back then the settlers would have gathered their supplies themselves and would have known exactly what they were taking with them.
And he has a point.

Oh my god.
Oh my god again.
One of the most shocking announcements ever in a show like this.
The elderly man was charged with sexual assault (!) on the morning of departure.
I knew something was off, but this I did not expect.
What an absolute hell!
I can’t imagine how this news must have been for everyone involved, I feel especially sorry for mrs Ziolkoski,
I also can’t find if these accusations were valid and if Tom Ziolkoski was guilty or not.
What a nightmare.

Also very good that the production company is actually showing all these things.
What an amazing start to the project.
I’m sure the production team has a second couple on standby though.

Great and shocking first episode, looking forward to the next.




4 thoughts on “Pioneer Quest, a year in the Real West, episode 1

  1. Pingback: List of all known Historical Reality tv shows | Historical Reality Television

  2. My husband and I watched the entire series on Hulu today. We were also impressed by the honesty of the program. It was great to see the selection process, preparations and mistakes made in the beginning.
    I was able to find some info about the sexual assault charges made against the older man first picked for the show. said a woman told The Winnipeg Sun she had complained to police after she was sexually fondled during a social evening. An article at reported that the charges were dropped by the authorities. Another article (I don’t remember which site) said that a family friend feels the charges were bogus. Sorry no links.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The charges were dropped and several articles said they were bogus. I feel that people that falsely accuse someone of sexual assault should be prosecuted. It is too horrific of a crime to have anyone falsely accused. It ruined this couples life, and because of the show, their reputation is forever tarnished also. There were dozens of articles about the charges, and only a couple about how they were dropped. A year of their life under that strain. Disgusting. We know of someone falsely convicted by recanted testimony, sent to jail by a corrupt judge who was caught in huge scandal in our area, and he sat in prison. This is a real problem. I am not saying victims should be put on trial , however if a victim recants then the person should be grantd a new trial.


  4. Sounds like completely bogus charges. Shame on the show for not clarifying. They make it sound like he abused a child or something. Nope, the accuser was a grown woman complaining about an unwanted hug. She also leaked the charges to the press (the producers planned to keep it quiet until the show aired). Clearly this evil wench just wanted to smear this man publicly and ruin his opportunity. The charges were later dropped. I sincerely hope the accuser received some massively negative karma from this.


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