The colder the climate, the sparser the population. One would expect the residents of these colder climates to be bundled up in artificial heating, using gallons of warm water. Rich Lewis decimates this common perception, not only living in the cold of the Montana Mountains, but in a home without basic amenities such as running water. While this would usually be a sign of an inauspicious life, Rich Lewis shot to fame when he was featured for six seasons in History Channel’s docuseries “Mountain Men”. His life of survival, hunting for food and tracking predators such as mountain lions, is an object of intense fascination to the general populace, who sit cozy and warm in their homes.
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Badlands spotted in the wild! We spotted Rich Lewis of History Channel's "Mountain Men" sporting a Badlands pack and the…
Early Life and Family
Apart from knowing that Rich was born in January 1954, in Idaho, USA, most of his life is shrouded in mystery. He spent the majority of his childhood in Idaho, always drawn to nature and the outdoors. He loved to explore and wander through nature, a lifestyle that he did not need to abandon when he began to fend for himself.
A Real-life Mountain Man
After moving to the Ruby Valley, Montana, Rich took up the mantle of local protector and vigilante. He soon earned a reputation as a lion hunter, and was dubbed “The Houndsman” due to his pack of hunting dogs.
While many would be reticent about the morality of hunting the magnificent mountain lion, Rich does this out of necessity, and seldom kills the lion unless there is no other alternative.
The community recognizes his ability, and he often does jobs for the locals in return for payment. He assists putting out fires, in moving cattle around and protecting the livestock from predators such as lions. Hunting lions has become necessary as they pick off the livestock and elk, leaving the community with very few food resources.
In 2007 a lion was behaving abnormally, slaughtering two dogs, and prowling near populated areas, so the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks decided that the lion needed to be hunted down and killed.
Rich Lewis attained their permission to take care of the issue and hunted the lion down. He lost one of his hunting dogs, Roxie, who fell prey to the lion, but he succeeded in eliminating the threat.
“Mountain Men” premiered on 31 May 2012. The show is produced by History Channel and follows multiple people who survive in the cold wilderness of locations such as in Montana and California. History Channel describes the show as a testament to the tenacity and ingenuity required for survival.
Each of the characters has a compelling story and lifestyle that allows the viewers to emotionally invest in the show.
Fellow Cast Members
Aside from documenting Rich and his life spent protecting his community and preparing for savage winters, “Mountain Men” also portrays the lives of other men with similar ideals and lifestyles to Lewis. One such man in Eustace Conway, who lives Virginia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he uses unique techniques to harvest firewood for profit, and also trains people in survival skills.
Marty Meierotto spends a significant portion of the year traveling between his home in Two Rivers in Wisconsin and the Alaskan Mountains, where he has fur traps and small, unheated cabins. While these men all employ different means of survival, the common thread between them is a love for nature, and an ability and desire to live a minimalistic life.
What Happened to Rich Lewis?
Despite being a much-loved character on the show since 2013, Rich vanished from the show without explanation after the sixth season in 2017. Many feared that this did not bode well for his health, but these concerns were sated when Rich assured the public that he was well and healthy.
Rich explained that he had voluntarily decided to leave the show, as his age made it incredibly difficult to maintain the levels of activity he had before. Despite virulent speculation, there was no animosity between Rich and the producers of “Mountain Men”; he hadn’t been fired from the show. As for what he is doing now, Rich has never been one for social media, and it is unlikely that this will change now. He is most likely still living his life in the mountains, but away from the lens of the camera.
Rich Lewis married Diane in 1992. Instead of his eclectic lifestyle destroying the relationship, Diane appears to share his ideals, and supports this way of living. It is unknown if the couple has any children, or if Rich was involved in any previous relationships.
Rich has a thick beard and a full head of hair, all colored pale brown-grey. He has pale eyes, displaying an attitude always ready for action. Years living in the wilderness have allowed him to keep active and healthy and this is evident in his facial features. He is 5ft 7ins (1.7m) tall and weighs around 140lbs (63kgs).
Net Worth and Salary
Money may not mean as much up in the mountains – certainly not as much as food, insulation, and safety – but sometimes it can mean the difference between life and death. Despite living a minimalistic lifestyle, money is still required to obtain certain resources and to purchase the best equipment. For example, living off the land as Rich does, doesn’t mean that he is above using a vehicle for transportation. Despite the brevity of his position on “Mountain Men”, Rich has accrued a net worth estimated at $300,000 – far from a paltry sum to a survivalist.