The Year: 1883. The Place: The Montana Territory. The Challenge: Blizzards, hunger, scorching sun, forest fires, the neighbors, and more ... Three modern families experienced life on the ... See full summary »

On Disc

at Amazon




Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Manor House (TV Mini-Series 2002)
Documentary | History | Reality-TV
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

21 people from the 21st century are being brought together in an Edwardian Country House. 6 of them are the Upstairs family and the 15 others are the servants. For three months, these people have only the rulebook and each other...

Stars: Tristan Aldrich, Avril Anson, Ellen Beard
Colonial House (TV Mini-Series 2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Stars: Jonathon Allen, Julia Friese, Carolyn Heinz
The 1900 House (TV Series 1999)
History | Reality-TV
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A modern English family embark on a real-life time-travel adventure to late Victorian London.

The Regency House Party (TV Mini-Series 2004)
Documentary | History | Reality-TV
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Stars: Richard E. Grant, Chris Gorell Barnes, Lisa Braund
The Mayflower (TV Movie 2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Director: Lisa Wolfinger
Stars: Keith Bartlett, Paul Drinan, Edward Herrmann
Texas Ranch House (TV Mini-Series 2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Stars: Robby Cabezuela, Bill Cooke, Hannah Cooke
Into the West (TV Mini-Series 2005)
Western | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Tales from the American West in the 19th century, told from the perspective of two families, one of white settlers and one of Native Americans.

Stars: Joseph M. Marshall, Irene Bedard, Gil Birmingham
The Golden Girls (1985–1992)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Four previously married women live together in Miami, sharing their various experiences together and enjoying themselves despite hard times.

Stars: Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan
History | Reality-TV
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two couples assume the lives of early settlers to the West. Using only the resources and tools of the period, they will attempt to build homes, raise livestock, hunt and grow crops.

Stars: Brian Hartigan, Alana Logie, Frank Logie
24 Hours in the Past (TV Series 2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Living history show. Six celebrities experience the relentless graft of Victorian Britain.

Stars: Tyger Drew-Honey, Fi Glover, Ruth Goodman
Wartime Farm (TV Mini-Series 2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Stars: John Simm, Peter Ginn, Ruth Goodman


Series cast summary:
Kristen Brooks
(unknown episodes)


The Year: 1883. The Place: The Montana Territory. The Challenge: Blizzards, hunger, scorching sun, forest fires, the neighbors, and more ... Three modern families experienced life on the American Frontier. If you think you know everything that happened ... You don't. Written by Cynthia O.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Three modern families experience life on the American Frontier in the 1880s

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

2002 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001 occurred during filming of the show, the production wanted to keep the authenticity of 1883 life (no television, no radio) they told the families of the tragedy via local newspapers. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Man, I love PBS
6 November 2002 | by (Cleveland, OH) – See all my reviews

NOVA, National Geographic, The Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Scientific American Frontiers and, now, Frontier House. PBS just keeps raising the bar. If only mainstream media would catch on.

Frontier House is really a fantastic show. Three modern families are plopped down in 1880's Montana and left to fend for themselves. From the beginning, it is clear that Frontier House is not just another lame "reality" show. The participants and the organizers obviously take the project seriously. There are no silly games or idiotic "challenges" for the families to participate in because life on the frontier is challenging enough. What happens when you buy thirty chickens who won't produce any eggs? How do you reap (by hand) four tons of hay for your livestock to eat during the coming winter? How do you keep healthy, clean and sane when you are locked in a 24-hour-a-day struggle with the world at large? Frontier House explores these questions and many more.

Meet the Clunes: An extremely wealthy family used to only the best of everything. The husband is a chubby, pampered man with a family business to run. The wife actually has a degree in culinary arts and the daughter and her cousin miss their TV. How does a family like this survive as 1880's frontier settlers? They become a family of moonshining egg-and-baked-goods barons.

Meet the Glenns: Karen and Mark: a most unpleasant pair. Always with something nasty to say about the Clunes and constantly at each other's throats. Clearly, they see this as an exercise in "us against them". Think these show are a joke? The Glenns' marriage may just disintegrate before the show is over. How does Karen feed her family? Country-style thriftiness and severe rationing supplemented by income from a laundry-washing job.

Meet the Brooks: The show starts with Nate Brooks and his father Rudy sharing a log cabin. Nate and Rudy are by far the nicest, most helpful and least competitive people on the show. A pair of intelligent and capable men, they are the only black people on the show. Whether this is to reflect the racial mix of American frontier settlers or it just worked out that way, I don't know and it isn't really important. Rudy leaves early in the show and is replaced by Nate's fiancee, Kristen and the two are married in a Frontier ceremony. Nate and Kristen are my favorite people on Frontier House. They go about their business and do their best to make a life in the harsh conditions that confront them.

Even from my living room couch, the challenges faced by these three families seem insurmountable. The law of open range threatens to destroy all their hard work as cattle are driven across their land. The families face famine without enough provisions. Sickness, desperation, the weather and each other are just a few of the hundreds of daily challenges we see on Frontier House. How much wood do you need to chop to make it through a plains winter? What if animals get into your garden? What's it like to till the soil using a sled and a mule?

This show has an amazing amount of charm and appeal. We've all dreamed of "simpler" times without the hustle and bustle of modern life, but our idea of a simpler world usually has a refrigerator in it, somewhere. Unfortunately for the Clunes, the Brooks and the Glenns, that just isn't the case.

If you are looking for a fascinating show with really great characters (because they are real people!), then Frontier House is for you.

As I write this, I am watching "1940's House" where they have taken a British family and planted them in war-time London. I didn't like the first 5 minutes, but it's already growing on me. I can't wait to see the next episode.

Frontier House: 10/10 and only because there is no such thing as 11/10.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
updates? This was one of my favorite series on PBS miradeaux
After the show valkyrieduo99
What would you have done? jordan-202
What happened to the Patton duo? korn_mythe
Kristen and Nate and Rudy penguins-2
Crazy Idea for Future House Series jimpoz
Discuss Frontier House (2002) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page