Although there are many shows out there with survival concepts, what really set “Yukon Men” apart from those is its simplicity, genuineness, and lack of that exaggerated drama which usually characterizes reality TV.
Filmed in Tanana, one of the most remote places in Alaska and the US, “Yukon Men” followed the lives of several people who, despite all the odds, survived some of the most gruesome environmental conditions, low temperatures and lack of food resources in order to live a life off the grid, no matter how hard it was to accomplish.
Even if that adventure ended for us when the show finished in 2016, there were still a lot of stories to tell about those once featured in the show.
So where is the show’s cast now? Are they still in Alaska, or moved back to ‘normal’ civilization? Keep with us to know all about the lives of the cast of “Yukon Men” nowadays!
Regardless of the unusual circumstances of his life, no one should be really surprised that Stan Zuray chose a life off-the-grid. Though he grew up in 1960s’ Boston, Stan never quite fitted into the city’s lifestyle, instead choosing to live as a ‘troublemaker’ during the early years of his life.
However, his perspective about the world suddenly changed after seeing the horrors the Vietnam war caused to people close to him. Believing there was a brighter and more peaceful future awaiting for him, Stan packed his belongings and roamed the US for a while, before ultimately establishing himself in Alaska.
As expected though, the consequences of living a life on his own terms weren’t easy to face. As he affirmed in his “Yukon Men” introduction, the lack of food led him to eat his sled dogs the first year in the wilderness. Fortunately, those dark times are in the past, and now not only is Stan an avid survivalist and outdoorsman, but is also successfully established, and has raised a whole family in his Alaskan homestead.
Following the cancellation of “Yukon Men”, Stan has been quite active by publishing his autobiography, “Carry On” in 2017, gathering almost 50,000 subscribers on YouTube, filming his documentary “The Stan Project”, and continuously updating his social media with social-conscious and environmental-centered content. Needless to say, he’s still living in Tanana as an outdoorsman, with his wife Kathleen.
Back when “Yukon Men” premiered in 2012, Joey Zuray was barely 21 years old, and struggling to learn his way by himself in the Alaskan wilderness. As the son of Stan and Kathleen Zuray, Joey was basically pushed into an outdoorsy lifestyle from an early age.
While hunting and trapping served him and his family well, Joey’s good-natured personality was greatly helpful for his community as well. By becoming an expert wolf hunter, Joey was able to protect not only his sled dogs, but also local Tanana people’s food provisions.
Unlike his father, Joey is notably less active on social media, and hasn’t started any entertainment-related projects. However, his life hasn’t been uneventful either. In 2019, he married Samantha, a University of Alaska graduate whom he started dating in 2014. The couple welcomed daughter Renee Ann in April 2021 and happily live together in Tanana.
Just like his fellow “Yukon Men” co-stars, Charlie Wright is an expert fisherman, trapper and hunter, though his interests certainly go far beyond that.
As seen in the show, Charlie was a mechanic, and operated a local water plant, but it was his commitment to environmental causes that truly made his name worth remembering.
Born and raised near the Yukon River, Charlie mastered his outdoorsy abilities very early in life, in addition to keeping his Athabascan traditions more alive than ever. His indigenous origins also motivated him to join the non-profit organization Tanana Chiefs Conference as a secretary, in an effort to promote his mission of making ‘a difference for the land and river that raised him’, on top of ensuring the next generation’s future through sustainable fishing and hunting methods.
Other organizations Charlie belongs to are the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Organization and the Alaska Humanities Forum. Following the end of “Yukon Men”, Charlie joined the campaign Vote For Salmon, an Alaskan political initiative meant to preserve salmon, whose population has apparently been decreasing in an alarming way in the last two decades, threatening not only the species, but also the families who obtain their winter food provisions through fishing.
All in all, it’s impressive to see Charlie’s commitment to the wellbeing of his community.
Robert “Bob” Wright
Any good “Yukon Men” fan surely remembers Bob, the young and often clueless son of Charlie Wright. Despite having grown up in Tanana, Bob was unsure about staying in Alaska, or looking for a different path in life following his high school matriculation.
Although Bob’s unending doubts regarding his future were pretty normal and very relatable to the younger side of the audience, his lack of determination made his father lose his patience at some point. Ultimately, Bob’s love for the place he grew up in made him stay, but instead of giving in to his father’s wishes and standards, Bob started down his own path.
Though not a lot is known about Bob’s personal life nowadays, his social media accounts tell us he’s still living in Tanana, works in commercial fishing for a living, and spends his free time hunting and hiking with friends and family.
Pat and Lorraine Moore
Given their hardworking and kind nature, the Moore family were definite fan-favorites in “Yukon Men”.
The small clan formed by parents Pat and Lorraine, with children Thomas and Agnes were in charge of their sled dogs team’s kennel, which usually also meant their responsibility in keeping animals away from predators was even bigger.
Besides the kennel, Pat and Lorraine fished and hunted for a living, but their struggles to keep their simple lifestyle in Tanana had been threatened in recent years by the salmon crisis in Alaska, on top of an already rise of the fish disease “ich”.
Although in recent years it was rumored that Lorraine had died, those speculations are fortunately untrue. As it happened, our favorite Lorraine was mistaken for two other women with the same names and surnames, who died in 2016 and 2019 respectively.
That being said, Lorraine’s health hasn’t been the best either – besides suffering the consequences of an aneurysm, in 2018 her daughter Courtney revealed that Lorraine was diagnosed with dementia. Unable to take care of her full-time as she needs, Lorraine was admitted to a living facility in Anchorage, where her family visits her as much as they can.
For his part, Pat is pretty much healthy, and is still loyal to his outdoorsy lifestyle.
You surely remember Courtney from “Yukon Men”, for being the daughter of Pat and Lorraine Moore. In the show, we saw her taking care of the family’s kennel, and growing her small family in the tough Tanana weather.
Although it’s been a while since “Yukon Men” ended, Courtney surely maintains her status as one of the show’s most famous cast members, gathering over 7,000 followers on Twitter, and 70,000 likes on her official Facebook page.
As seen in the show, Courtney Agnes has been happily married to husband Archie for several years. Together, the couple adopted their first daughter Frances in 2014, who is around four years older than their biological daughter Carrie, who was born in 2013.
By being the most active member of the Moore family on social media, Courtney usually lets us see small snippets about her life and family.
Courtney is also the one who usually keeps her followers updated regarding her mother Lorraine, whose indefinite stay in a living facility for health reasons, usually makes her family unable to share much time with her.
While it doesn’t seem that Courtney or any of her family members have any plans of ever returning to TV, she’s apparently quite busy with her handmade accessories shop Yukon Designs, in addition to managing the Tanana Dog Mushers Association.
As a main provider of wood, and the owner of his own kennel, James Roberts’ presence in “Yukon Men” was not easy to ignore, even though he sometimes attracted negative attention. As many loyal show viewers might remember, in 2013 James was in hot waters when he admitted wanting to overthrow Pat Moore’s sled dog business, in a rather dark choice of words: ‘He’s gonna go down clawing and fighting. I just hope to be there, pick up the pieces when he falls apart, crush him and stomp on him’.
Despite the negativity his confession brought out, James’ also has a positive side to him. As seen in the show, he’s a resilient man who overcame addictions and put his life together in order to dedicate fully to his family. Besides using his best fishing, trapping and hunting techniques to provide for his loved ones, James’ extensive knowledge at dog mushing was passed down to him as a family tradition created by his grandfather Edgar Nollner, who in 1925 led the Nome’s diphtheria serum run.
Though it’s unfortunate that James’ current whereabouts is unknown, it’s revealed that in 2017 his son Francis was arrested for misconduct and assault. That same year, James reportedly relocated his family to Cave Creek, in Arizona
The story of Seth Fairbanks is one of those who irremediably leaves us heartbroken. Even though Seth appeared in “Yukon Men” only a couple of times, besides his kind and good humored nature, Seth is remembered for being a helpful ‘plane pilot, gold miner and heavy duty worker.
Unfortunately, Seth’s promising life came to an end when his ‘plane crashed in August 2015, as he fled back from his sister’s wedding in Holitna River alongside his co-pilot Anthony Hooper, of 23 years old. According to reports, Seth’s Piper PA-18 Super Cub plane crashed in Cook Inlet, near Anchorage. Both men apparently called the emergency services after the crash, but the call was supposedly cut short for unknown reasons and Seth and Anthony went missing afterwards.
The unfortunate news came in late August when Anthony’s body was recovered in Cook Inlet, but no signs of Seth were ever found.
There are many reasons as to why this tragedy was so heartbreaking. Not only was Seth very young, but also because “Yukon Men”s production had allegedly planned on keeping him as a recurring cast member. However, the saddest part is to know that Seth was the father of two young girls, and so left a whole family behind.
Just like any other show in the reality genre, “Yukon Men” was subjected to many questions regarding its authenticity.
However, the show’s content also started a heated debate regarding its accuracy regarding environmental matters.
As seen in “Yukon Men”, wolves and werewolves represent a great threat to the community’s families and as stated by some cast members, said animals had fatally attacked several people in the past decade. However, as Adam Welz from The Guardian reported in 2013, only two fatal wolf attacks have been recorded in the last two decades in the US and Canada, which of course went against the statements made by “Yukon Men”s cast members. This left Welz to not only question why the show introduces its content as ‘factual’, without data to support it, but also judged the seemingly villainized portrayal of Tanana’s wildlife.
While these topics are quite extensive and leave a lot up to debate, it’s not to forget that no matter how much we love a show, critiques and negative reviews are always valid.
What Happened To “Yukon Men”?
Those who were there when “Yukon Men” premiered in August 2012, can surely attest to the show’s success. Reportedly, its early seasons’ premieres gathered around two million viewers and the status of one of Discovery’s biggest audience hits back then.
That being said, the initial uproar “Yukon Men” caused steadily abated for a variety of reasons, including the increasing scene dramatizations featured in it, which surprisingly enough were even acknowledged by the cast members: ‘The shows are like ours. They dramatize them, but it’s also reenactments of what they really do’, as Stan Zuray told Anchorage News in 2014.
Throughout its years on air, “Yukon Men” also faced other scandals, such as the time that Yukon’s Legislative Assembly filed a complaint against them for ‘identity theft’, stating that the hunting techniques featured in it weren’t accurate representations of Yukoners’ practices.
Whether these aforementioned factors directly caused the show’s downfall or not, it’s evident that at some point “Yukon Men” just didn’t catch the audience’s attention as much. Despite it all, now the show is remembered for lots of positive reasons, including having an interesting and strongly resilient cast, comprised of people who never failed to have the most uplifting stories to tell us.