STUDIO: A&E Home Video
MSRP: $7.75
RUNNING TIME: 670 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Additional footage

The Pitch

It’s about uncanny mutants who choose logging as a vocation.

The Humans

Four logging crews in Oregon: J.M. Browning Logging, Stump-Branch Logging, Pihl Logging, Gustafson Logging.

The Nutshell

This History Channel reality series follows a group of lumberjacks through dangerous work conditions, bad weather and personality clashes.


The Lowdown

I had caught a couple of episodes of Ax Men before.  I though it’d have the same appeal as the type of reality / documentary shows I like such as American Chopper, American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars and particularly, Deadliest Catch, which is a very similar kind of show.  But for some reason, Ax Men just doesn’t really resonate with me.  Either because this season doesn’t really have the breakout personalities such as the Teutels,  Sig Hansen, the late Phil Harris, the Hillstrands or the other guys from the crabbing show.  I can’t explain why I don’t feel the show, because you’ve got guys running around with four foot-long chainsaws and heavy machinery doing one of the more dangerous jobs around.  There are weather obstacles such as one particular storm this season that was packing close to hurricane force winds.  There are economic concerns stemming from the downturn in the housing market, and the occasional screaming match between co-workers.

"OK, Bigfoot, you bastard, it is ON..."

There are four logging crews depicted in this first season: J.M. Browning Logging, Stump-Branch Logging, Pihl Logging, Gustafson logging.  Browning is the largest and most successful.  It’s headed up by Jay Browning, who has decades of experience, and who has lost most of the fingers on his left hand in pursuit of logging.  His son, Jesse, is the heir apparent, but he has to [prove himself worthy.  Pihl is probably the next largest outfit.  Mike Pihl and employee Dwayne Dethlefs usually get the most face time.  Gustafson is the third, and is a clearcut company based out of Astoria.  Clay, Mark and Wade Gustafson run the company and their site manager, Darrell Holthusen, gets a lot of face timer.  Finally, Stump-Branch is the smallest outfit, that uses often second-hand equipment and is run by Mike Lardy, a 32-year-old who takes jobs that many other loggers wouldn’t just to compete.

This season set has fourteen episodes:

  • “Man vs. Mountain” – Intro to the crews
  • “Risk and Reward” – Stump-branch has to jury rig old equipment
  • “Storm Season Strikes” – First storm of the season hits and hits big.
  • “The Big Hit” – Econnomic concerns.
  • “Market Meltdown” – Continued concerns as the housing market goes through a collapse and layoffs loom.
  • “Reversal of Fortune” – More on the looming layoffs.
  • “The Close Call” – Stump-Branch tries an untested logging strategy.
  • “Loggers Under Fire” – Jesse’s promotion to management is stymied by a returning logger.
  • “A Logger’s Thanksgiving” – Pihl crew loses loggers to illness, first snowfall of the season.
  • “Black Friday” – Pihl crew shirks responsibilities.
  • “Storm of the Century” – Worst storm in 25 years floods out major sites
  • “The Toughest Season” – Recap episode of the 11 episodes to date.
  • “Picking Up the Pieces” – Recovering after the storm.
  • “The Final Haul” – Push to fill log quotas before logging season ends and mills close.

A wide shot from The Happening 2: Man Strikes Back

The show has good production value and comprehensive coverage of all the crews.  But ultimately, it’s a show that I could watch, but don’t.

The Package

Sound and picture are good.  Only special feature is additional footage.


Out of a Possible 5 Stars