Mountain Men: Eustace and Raleigh Send Trespassers a Message (Season 8) | History


NARRATOR: High in the
Blue Ridge Mountains, there’s new blood hard
at work on Turtle Island. 19-year-old North
Carolina native Raleigh Avery has
come on board to help keep the preserve running. I’ve always been one to love
nature, get out in the woods, use my hands. NARRATOR: Raleigh’s
bringing some mountain skills to the table. I know it’s going to be
different and a whole lot of work, but I’m looking
forward to learning and growing and having Eustace as a mentor. NARRATOR: But he’s
got big shoes to fill here on Eustace Conway’s turf. EUSTACE: Good boys. My good friend
Preston has helped me out here for over 30 years. And after he died, it’s been
really hard to find good help. I’m going to need some help
taking care of the horses, saw mill, and just a million little
things always need to be done. Raleigh pays attention. He’s motivated, and
hopefully he can do it. So he knows blacksmithing,
and he’s helped me do a little sawmilling. Raleigh knows a lot
of stuff, but he’s got a whole lot more
to learn, and I’m excited about teaching him. NARRATOR: And Raleigh couldn’t
have arrived at a better time. Last winter, Eustace
put a payment on an expansion, 90 acres
of forest right next door. EUSTACE (VOICEOVER): We’ve got
a lot of land we need to cover. I’ve got a new piece
of land up here. NARRATOR: Now he
needs Raleigh’s muscle to make the land
productive and pull enough logs to raise the loan payment
that’s due in the spring or risk losing the investment. Right now I need
some cash, and we’re going to go look at some timber,
look at the new tract of land and sort of assess what we’ve
got here that we can use. NARRATOR: The goal is to get
the new land to pay for itself, and so far the
prospects are good. When they’re straight,
they make good timber. Now see how that forks
right at the base there? I see it. EUSTACE: And that’s leaning. And some day in some
ice storm that’s going to get so heavy that
it’s going to split and fall. If we harvest it now, we
harvest it on our terms, you see what I mean? RALEIGH: Yeah. I believe we could pay my debt
just by taking the cull trees off of this land right here– RALEIGH: Wow. EUSTACE: –just the
low-quality trees. And we can harvest all
this, but at the same time we know we got this preserved. We can keep it
natural and healthy. Yeah, that’s what
I’m talking about. I’m glad you get this stuff. Well, let’s head on up the
hollow and see what we’ve got. Some nice hemlocks around. Yeah, some of them
are dead already, but there’s a few still living. Hey, look at this. My gosh. RALEIGH: Is that
moonshine a still? EUSTACE: Yeah, I
can’t have this. NARRATOR: The
discovery of an illegal still puts Eustace in a bind. I don’t mind a man
moonshining if he wants to do it on his own land, but it’s pretty
alarming to have somebody, like, working on my
land that’s not invited. NARRATOR: Moonshining is an
Appalachian tradition dating back more than 200 years. Today it still thrives
in the mountains, but distillers have to go deep
off the grid to evade the law. That’s not terribly old. That hasn’t even been rained on. Well, who could
have been doing this? I have no idea. I just need to make
sure they don’t come back and do it again. And they need to
know they just can’t come over here and make liquor. RALEIGH: I got an idea
to send them a message. What’s that? Blowing up this
moonshine still. My nature is to
salvage it, but I believe Raleigh’s idea of
blowing up the still will certainly send a message
to whoever brought it down here. He’s having fun with the idea. Like, let’s just run with it. Let’s do it. So a bullet explodes it? RALEIGH: Right. And we use a high-powered
rifle to set this thing off. Think we’ll be able to make that
shot from the ridge up there? EUSTACE: You’re shooting. What do you think? I got it. All right. Oh my goodness. Well, let’s get up
there and do it. Goodbye, still. There it is right there. Let’s grab that stump. We can roll it up here to. That’s a good plan. EUSTACE: One, two. Don’t let him go. Thank you. How about it? [laughter] Oh my gosh. You aren’t kidding. That’s a bomb. Raleigh had a pretty good
idea sending out a message. So whoever’s coming back to
it is going to get the point. Well, it’s starting to get
dark, and it’s starting to snow, and we’ve got quite
a few miles to go. Let’s head on back.

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