New Series Smoky Mountain Money Premieres Tonight

For centuries dating back to native Cherokee tribes, people have lived off the fertile land of the Smoky Mountains. As time rolled on and American society became technology based, local mountain men continued to follow the call of the wild carrying on the traditions of their ancestors. The mountains are teeming with valuable goods ranging from gold to moss that can be harvested and sold to local dealers,  but for one month every year, Ginseng is the most valuable item to be found. People of the Smokies call White Panax Ginseng “Mother Nature’s Gold,” and it grows in abundance in the mountains around the small towns of Western North Carolina, Andrews and Robbinsville. Every September is the wild Ginseng harvest season when “Ginsengers” will go where no man goes and “get it while the gettin’s good!”

Smoky Mountain Money follows four teams of mountain folk who strike out into the Smokies every September searching the ridgetops and “hollars” for wild American Ginseng. Ginseng is a federally protected endangered species so the harvesting of wild Ginseng is a heavily regulated trade. This makes is the Ginseng harvest a highly competitive and territorial natural treasure hunt with many similarities to the commercial fishing industry. Our teams come from long bloodlines of “Ginsengers” who have a great respect for the valuable plant and want to conserve as they forage so that Ginseng will continue to thrive in the Smokies and be a source of income for their children and their children’s children.

For 11 months of the year, the people of Andrews and Robbinsville in Western North Carolina do their best to scratch out an existence in one of the most economically depressed areas in America. In the last 18 months, four local manufacturing plants were closed putting about 5000 people out of work. Those who are lucky enough to still have jobs earn a small paycheck at the local sawmill or doing landscaping. Those who don’t have jobs perform odd jobs like chopping firewood to put food on the table.

But for one month every year, September, “Ginsengers” can take the bull by the horns in the mountains and earn thousands of dollars foraging Ginseng. Because of federal restrictions, they have a short amount of time to hit the mountains and find as much Ginseng as they legally can to earn some real money. The price of White Panax Ginseng has actually spiked as high as $1200 per pound, making it the most valuable commodity in the Smokies that’s not a precious metal. Somewhere out there is the rumored “Monster ‘Seng” – a huge Ginseng root that is shaped like a man which local hunters say has fetched upwards of $10,000 on the Asian market. But finding the “Monster ‘Seng” is no easy task, and only a real mountain man will survive.

Each team must be willing to go further into the mountains than any other has ever gone before to find pure, untouched, fully mature Ginseng and bring home a big payday.

The hazards are everywhere: rattlesnakes and copperheads, bees and wasps, bears and boar. Our Ginseng teams know the hazards and face them head on to get to the big ‘seng. They possess survival skills rivaling those of any Army Ranger and which they learned the hard way, from years of living off the land of the Smokies. They proudly boast that they are “mountain men, not hillbillies” because “a hillbilly can’t survive in them mountains.”

For one month every year, the mountain men (and women) of Andrews and Robbinsville, North Carolina can put everything they know about the Smokies on the line and strike out to make Smoky Mountain Money.

Smoky Mountain Money: Ginseng Kings premieres tonight at 10P.


  1. Teke Dixon
    Waycross, GA
    September 17, 2014, 9:54 pm

    Surely Nat Geo or the so called “Mt men” of Smokey Mt. $ knows the difference between yellow jackets which nest in the ground & a bald hornet nest? The dead wasp(not bees as he calls them) that he picked up & said it was the biggest yellow jacket he’d ever seen, was actually a hornet. A true woodsman would know this.

  2. Janet
    September 18, 2014, 6:35 am

    The show was very entertaining, but Jeremy Is so cute.

  3. ryan
    September 24, 2014, 10:22 pm

    I can honestly say that this is the worst ginseng show that I have ever seen in my life, even worse than Appalachian outlaws.all of the so-called mountain men that call them selves ginseng hunters overexagerate on the weight and price of every thing that they dig.this is not an educational show that teaches people to preserve this important resource that many of us real woodsmen love , but a drama that is all scripted.not once during the whole episode i watched did I hear anything about replanting the Berry’s and the best way to do it.every time that they make one of these dumb ass shows more city boys that have no respect for ginseng go out expecting to make a lot of money and destroy the ginseng digging anything that they find.

  4. mary
    October 1, 2014, 5:38 pm

    dumbest show i ever saw, what a waste of money

  5. Brian
    October 7, 2014, 5:07 pm

    very funny. I love the show. too bad theirs so many people that think its all real and talks bad about it. people need to realize its entertainment. Not all the stuff on tv and the enternet are real

  6. Bones
    N.E. Ga.
    October 9, 2014, 1:28 am

    Good grief people, give it a break, the actors do what there told to do. Its an entertainment show, and yes the majority of it is real, I dig myself. I know the men on the show, and ever plant they dig, the berries go back in the ground. It is tough making money through the winter months in the Appalachians for alot of people.If you’re not from here, then u dont understand.Lighten up, dont be so simple minded.U dont never hear anybody gripe about the vehicles their driving everyday, killing the ozone. This aint hurting anything. “Great job guys” killer show, keep up the good work!

  7. Dora
    October 9, 2014, 7:07 am

    I’ve never seen a dam Yankee yet that didn’t think they knew it all.Way to go NJ and Ohio

  8. Roger Bunch
    East Tennessee, Morgan County
    October 14, 2014, 4:45 am

    You guys want to do a real show for a change? You need to hook up with Real Outdoor Adventures and Hardcore Life Outdoors. Stop making people think you can make 18-20k per year digging this stuff. Tell the real story like it is.
    That is how we do it at Real Outdoor Adventures. We tell it like it is, how it is.
    All this shooting at each other, beating each other up over ginseng and burning cars etc. That is total bull and it makes us hill folk look bad. You are ruining the Appalachia name.

  9. Richard Tharp
    October 15, 2014, 9:39 pm

    I don’t know about those people in the mountains but us rednecks in oklahoma don’t let big fat low lifes bull dog the little guy

  10. Jack Foster
    Lebanon, Tennessee
    October 29, 2014, 9:39 pm

    Your shows are starting to suck! What happened to the real shows? U can tell some shows are staged. And this is not Animal Planet so lose the animal shows. Can’t believe y’all are selling out like the other channels! Lose the fake crap!

  11. Kevin
    November 1, 2014, 3:40 pm

    Terrible and obviously set up

  12. Kevin
    November 1, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Funny how Goats son sprained ankle healed so fast .I had a sprained ankle and it can take up to 6 weeks to heal. And when Shashta was left behind that was it for me. Cody didn’t keep a close eye on her? Did you also see Cody tending to her wounds and yet no blood continued to run? This is a BS series.

  13. Gayle
    November 5, 2014, 6:44 pm

    I was pulling for the McCoys, but Jeremy behavior has my mind. That boys needs a really good beat down. I hope that either Jim and Buck or Cody and the girls come out on top.

  14. Lea Ann
    Weaverville NC
    January 25, 2015, 2:42 pm

    This show is a joke to people who really do this stuff. What an embarrassment to the people of my area.

  15. Norm
    January 25, 2015, 2:57 pm

    Hey Dora………….
    The war is over, and you lost. BOOO HOOOO That slavery thang was such a great idea, bless yore heart. If you want some of your old property back, let us yankees know where to send it. Cracka

  16. Matt
    North Carolina
    January 25, 2015, 3:06 pm

    As a North Carolinian who is involved directly in conservation of protected plant species, I can say this show is nothing better than a crock of bullsh*t scripted “reality” that glorifies harvesting an endangered species as a thrill seeking money making venture. There is literally ZERO effort put into educating people about how threatened this species is in North Carolina (the rate of decline is over 50% and spiking) and I have failed to see how these mountain hillbillies are smart enough to collect the species in a sustainable manner. Shame on Nat Geo for this recent stream of scripted reality that makes the mountains of NC look like a dangerous gold mine. It is a natural beauty unmatched by few places across the Blue Ridge Mountains that is declining rapidly due to the “true” ginseng collectors and the untrained, unknowledgeable masses that are now combing the mountains for this species. Do you honestly expect everyone is following the September harvest? I am disgusted every aspect of this show.

  17. Fake Fakenstien
    Mount Fakely, VA
    January 25, 2015, 5:15 pm

    11/10 – would watch and believe it was real again! I would bet my whole bank account that this show is unscripted and real.

  18. The true Ginseng freak
    Boone Count West Virginia
    May 8, 2015, 7:15 pm

    I dig gensing every year and I have watched Smoky Mountain money and Appalachian outlaws I know some of the people on Appalachian outlaws and if you know what you’re doing you can make 18 to 20 thousand dollars a year by digging ginseng cause I have and yes I have been shot at I’ve been in the people in Ohio to New Jersey and North Carolina that you say has the most beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains you need to come to West Virginia and look Appalachian Mountains yes the economy sucks it sucks for everywhere but there is no reason for you to criticize two TV shows this TV show just for simple fact its not educational is educational in a way for people that don’t know what it is and its educational in a way that shows how to get it cause it’s not just hike up in the mountains everything be all fine and dandy and find ginseng you’re going to get shot at you’re going to have to do stuff that you don’t want to do to get it.not every show on TV is going to be educational we’re still not in schools boys and girls we have grown up we are adults. And so what the south didnt win but danm thats over a hundred years ago come on grow up you know what your watching and if you didnt like it turn the channel or do you have the tv that you have to get off your but and walk to the tv to turn the knob

  19. Michael
    West Texas
    June 11, 2015, 10:33 am

    Awful show. Once a highly reputable and incredibly amazing magazine that was filled to the brim with facts is now a shock and drama filled channel that exploits an interesting way of life.
    All for the sake of a show, or a “series”, this is pathetic and disappointing. Im sure that watching 30 minutes of anyone wandering through the woods without anything found can get boring, but ruining a once highly credited reputation for this fake crap steers me away from this channel completely.
    Should’ve stuck with maybe one or two true ‘sangers and show/teach on what to look for, replant, and other spectacular parts of the Apps. Keep the knowledge alive instead of this fake drama that is offensive to country folk. “…Come to the sound of the bell…” Deep southern paranormal heeyuk is what i think of when i see this shite, and lizard lick towing…

  20. Michael
    West tejas
    June 11, 2015, 10:46 am

    And to the trolls that say “if you dont like it then turn it off..”
    Well no S, but the point of this blog/page is to let NatGeo know public opinion on their programs, derp.

  21. Appalachian
    West Virginia
    July 27, 2015, 3:07 pm

    Most ridiculous show I’ve seen yet. Nothing but fake, fake…carrying guns? Getting their ankles stuck and calling for help? Scaring bears away? The producers should be canned!!! Not to mention the actors…I mean real life ginseng hunters. What a joke!

  22. Jennie Clevinger
    Morgan, TX
    April 7, 2016, 3:21 am

    I was raised in Murphy, NC and lived in Andrews & Hayesville, NC. I also kicked around some in Robbinsville.

    I know for a fact that alot of families would not have had food on their tables if it hadn’t been for ginseng digging, tree moss collecting and lizard hunting the creeks. I know to some this maybe be strange, but mountain people have done this for many many years and handed down from one generation to another.

    People are still getting ginseng out of those mountains after all these years. So what does that tell you.

    I have also heard people are complaining about people digging ramps. That is a natural food God put on this earth for people to eat.

    Great Smokey Mountains: Home Sweet Home

  23. Shart
    October 18, 2016, 12:31 pm

    …and no one would ever post a fake comment in a blog just to get a rise out of readers. (people love controversy)