What We Learned From This Season of Live Free or Die

The first season of Live Free or Die comes to an end tonight, and with it concludes the cast’s bizarre DIY crafts and interesting diets. And though the show’s producers dedicated plenty of screen time to the beliefs and ideological motivations of each “back-to-nature” subject, the show really shone when the cast members put their minds towards building structures from scratch or whipping up a creative meal with available ingredients.

To celebrate the finale, here are some highlights of what we learned from this season:

How to prepare roadkill (and other quick meals)

For the cast, “living off the land” is a lifestyle with a set of built-in values. But these codes of conduct aren’t driving everyday decisions – in reality, living off the land is a rosier way of saying that the cast stays alive by hunting and foraging for each meal. Tony and Amelia learned what a roadkill-ed bobcat tasted like with some mushrooms and miso (spoiler: relatively bland, but thankfully not like asphalt). Thorn survived a poor fishing day by eating chickweed grass. But Gabe wins the prize for most unorthodox diet: the back-to-nature savant hunted squirrels, feasted on rats and cooked pancakes with goat blood.

How to make tools from scratch

To survive changing seasons and food scarcity, a few cast members of Live Free or Die made some pretty great replicas of household goods using only materials gathered from their ecosystems. Thorn made a fishing rod out of “natural cordage,” or thin, yet strong wood fibers twisted into twine, glued together with sticky sap. Tony and Amelia also vermicomposted, using red worms to hasten soil fertilization to grow mushrooms.

How to recycle waste (literally)

While the cast certainly got creative with their crafts and culinary concoctions out of necessity, their commitment to sustainability and handiness was more ideological than practical. After his cabin burned down, Colbert built a treehouse from scrap lumber; Tony and Amelia did the same for their chicken coop. Gabe’s sustainable lifestyle didn’t stop at his cabin – the back-to-nature savant fertilized the area around his home with his own feces.

Don’t miss the season finale of Live Free or Die: Forever Wild tonight at 10/9c.


  1. Manny Silva
    December 2, 2014, 9:00 pm

    Great show. While people may not be inclined to become woodsmen or neo-aboriginals, I do think shows like these may help encourage people to get outdoors and experience nature for themselves. I think many people would see their health improve by spending time outdoors, walking and viewing nature, and getting away from computers, cellphones, and other technology. I’ve heard of an author that says this is critical for children and has labeled the problem “Nature Deficit Disorder”. Kudo’s to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC for presenting this program!

  2. Julie
    United States
    December 2, 2014, 11:01 pm

    I really enjoy this show. I hope you bring it back next season. If i wasn’t almost 60 yrs old, I would love to try this. Thank you “NAT GEO” thank you

  3. David
    December 2, 2014, 11:11 pm

    Your kidding right? Is this seriously a try at reality TV by an organization that is respected for quality shows fantastic documentary’s? Your show Life Below Zero is one of the best, straight forward, informative and educational, fun to watch. I have to say Live Free or Die should be Live Free or Done as in finished, over, awful try at a show like the rest which your not. Please let it go as in no more I don’t Really want to see a bunch of modern day hippies running around in the woods shooting squirrel with a home made Bow and Arrow. That’s my opinion. Thank you.

  4. Glenn Turman
    North Carolina
    December 3, 2014, 12:24 am

    I love the show!!do not miss a episode. I live in between these guys. I have to live in between modern and primitive due to my situation. I hunt, fish and grow my food to supliment my life style. I love the old ways and admire the people live it. This show among others of this type give me some hope for the future that some will continue to keep this type of life style alive. I am not a die hard surviverlest but keep my skills alive and have past it down to my kids and have started passing it down to my grandkids. I hope that this style of show will continue in the future as it kindles the fire in some to revisit thier past heritage. We need to keep this style of life alive as it is out past, present and future. Not everthing is fast food, shopping and who has more than thier neighbor. Forgive my poor grammer and spelling but wanted to pass along my opinion. Live in the present but do not forget where you came from! life is about the little things and many have forgotten that. Modern life is hard but taking the time to go back to your roots reminds you of what you have and not what you want and who can give it to you. Thank you for taking the time and effort to air this show and many thanks for the people who live this life style and are willing to share it. God bless you and yours and hope you all have many happy days ahead of you all1

  5. Chris Cortes
    December 3, 2014, 1:33 am

    When does season 2 begin!!!!!?

  6. Deb
    December 4, 2014, 4:03 pm

    I actually enjoyed the show for what it was but noticed a couple of things that had me scratching my head, such as emelia’s Chaco sandels at $ 120 a pair and the surf board left behind a tree but he somehow ended up with a very expensive wetsuit along with it, to fish in the ocean . Not trying to bash the show as it is still entertaining.

  7. Lynn
    Northern British Columbia
    December 8, 2014, 9:46 pm

    Loved the series, and look forward to more back to the land shows. The whole family gathers for Live Free or Die and we look forward to a season 2. Keep up the good work.

  8. rondo rawlings
    Tucson Arizona
    December 9, 2014, 5:04 pm

    I love this show!!!! I watch it religiously. Please bring a season 2!!!

  9. Julie Salter
    December 10, 2014, 11:00 pm

    My husband similar shows, of which none I have been that crazy about. Live Free or Die was an exception! I enjoyed watching it each week and following the stories , Colbert was my favorite! I am hoping for season two!

  10. Cametrica Davis
    December 12, 2014, 2:58 pm

    I really enjoyed the show. I’ve taken a look at how I can live more simple and not depend so much on what can be bought. Waiting on Season 2

  11. richard
    December 15, 2014, 1:02 am

    Does anyone know the name of the song at the end of last week’s episode? They just kept playing the part of “let me live free” over and over at the end of the show. Would live to know who sings it. Thanks

  12. Holly
    West Chester, Ohio
    December 16, 2014, 8:28 am

    My 8 year old son and I have DVR-ed the show and we LOVE them. We watch the espisodes over and over. My son is fascinted with the show and even turns it on himself and watches part of it while he eats breakfast before he goes to school! The show is wonderful! We love the humble people and learn so much from them. We cannot wait for SEASON 2 as well! Please return and keep showing us the challenges and rewards of living off the land. Much respect! Great job!! Love the narrator too – he does a great job. I too have been searching for the Season Finale song, “let me live free….!” and cannot find it. Is it in the end credits? Peace and love – Holly

  13. Devin Holmes
    North Carolina
    December 18, 2014, 9:16 pm

    Start filming season two or I’ll trap you like a beaver!

  14. Victoria Rae
    December 20, 2014, 12:40 am

    Does anyone know the name of the song that played at the end of the season finale? If you do, Id love to know..:)

  15. Dean
    fort riley, ks
    December 30, 2014, 7:16 pm

    Excellent show. CAnT wait for season two!

  16. Miranda
    December 31, 2014, 2:19 am

    Love this inspiring show! Hoping there is a Season 2.

  17. Neill
    January 8, 2015, 3:47 pm

    Love the show. live a bit more civilized with solar power and internet, but I sympathize with the characters and laugh with their triumphs and am saddened by their failures. Please keep the show up!

    kent ohio
    January 11, 2015, 10:30 pm

    This show is great. I am addicted to it. Please give us many more season with these wonderful loving people.
    “Rabbits gonna eat those rabbits”

  19. Rich alvord
    Mosquito Lagoon
    January 15, 2015, 2:50 pm

    Too many unreal situations to mention. ” I feel totally comfortable to drink this water ” . That’s a no anywhere in the USA . Thorn is just incompetent and its a sad joke he could care for his daughter . Don’t bother renewing this series .

  20. Apple Isgreat
    January 15, 2015, 4:25 pm

    Generally this is a great show but I find tony really annoying and opinionated. He is always comparing things to how much something with be e.g., this is 75 dollars worth of materials, I can’t believe how much people pay for greens, etc. It comes across as him trying to justify his life and really shows me that he actually values money but somehow can’t make it. Show less of tony and more of Amelia.

  21. Rebekah Oakley
    February 1, 2015, 3:31 pm

    Watched it through, twice! Ready for Season 2.

  22. Natalie Kilgore
    United States
    February 2, 2015, 6:08 am

    I really enjoyed the people featured in the show. When is season two starting?

  23. Josh
    February 2, 2015, 10:02 am

    Great series I really enjoyed it from start to finish. It really shows the greatness of getting back to nature, whether it be every once in awhile or living it like they do

  24. Lloyd
    February 2, 2015, 3:03 pm

    This show is great and anybody on here complaining about it is probably a city dweller who has never experienced the satisfaction and fulfillment you get from actually living hands on with the land . I’d follow this show for life if it’s on.

  25. City Dweller
    February 18, 2015, 5:55 am

    Fantastic show, I am completely addicted to it, i hope i can mount up the courage to do the same thing! I watch the season over and over! I am anxiously waiting season 2!! I hope this is a series that will last a long time!

  26. Debra
    Washington, DC
    February 21, 2015, 12:58 am

    Love the show! My six year old daughter and I watched the season on Hulu together this week. She has renamed it ‘The people in the woods show’ =)

  27. alan k
    February 23, 2015, 9:41 pm

    this show inspired our whole family thank you!

  28. Scott
    Toronto, Canada
    February 26, 2015, 12:31 am

    really loved the series but when it finished i was pretty sad. Please keep filming for season 2!!

  29. Mike
    March 1, 2015, 5:09 am

    The million dollars question. What’s the song at the end of episode 10?

  30. stephen
    March 22, 2015, 1:08 pm

    Wonderful show. My wife and I watched it with out children. Learned a tonne and we’re even thinking of buying some land to do something similar. Thanks NatGeo. We’re waiting on season 2 ^_^

  31. rebecca
    March 23, 2015, 7:15 pm

    I would like to see more of this show. And would like to know how Tony and Amelia started to grow their own mushrooms, I would like to do this instead of having to buy them. Great show can’t wait for season 2.

  32. RS
    March 27, 2015, 10:22 am

    I enjoyed the show!!! There are very few reality shows that are clean for families to watch. I watched all the episodes and each show and it’s characters are positive in all they do whether they are successful or fail in they’re tasks. I hope there will be a season 2!!! That being said is there going to be a season 2? I really enjoy Tony and Emilia, Colbert the most as well as the others they’re great!!! Thank you and all the characters for this VERY FINE show!!!

  33. Samuel
    April 25, 2015, 12:46 am

    The song name? 🙁

  34. LT
    May 4, 2015, 12:02 pm

    Does someone knows the name of the song? Shazam can’t find it

  35. Jesse Anger
    May 6, 2015, 3:42 am

    I can’t seem to find anything pertaining to the possibility of a second season. National Geographic, it would be greatly appreciated if you would perhaps give a statement as to whether this is it for the show, or if a foreseeable season 2 is in the works. Keep us posted!

  36. Anastasia Sakawsky
    British Columbia
    May 20, 2015, 2:27 am

    I find it quite amusing that people come on here to complain and put others down. Why don;t you just change the channel when the show comes on? I’ve never been bothered by a show so much that I felt compelled to take the time out of my life to go onto the website and post my negative comments about it. I guess I’ve got better things to do… Like take the time to comment on just how awesome I think the show is! And on a side note, Thorn makes me swoon. And his daughter is adorable! I wish my dad would have invested as much time in me and taught me such valuable skills when I was young. What a lucky girl!

  37. Bradford lee
    June 9, 2015, 2:18 pm

    Think the name of that song is let me live by jonas david.

  38. JOHN
    G.J. colorado
    June 23, 2015, 8:46 pm

    Please announce season two start date.

  39. Rebekah
    June 29, 2015, 9:42 pm

    When is the next season? Or is it even coming back on?

  40. Jodi
    Sioux City,Ia
    August 11, 2015, 10:06 pm

    When does season 2 start ?

  41. pangea
    August 21, 2015, 10:13 am

    @Bradford lee
    Nope. That’s not it.

  42. Dremsnd
    September 29, 2015, 1:10 pm

    Didn’t Amelia. Tell Tony she was pregnant on the last show of season 1?

  43. Carl Beckman
    Corsicana, Tx.
    November 18, 2015, 12:40 am

    I love this show and it makes me wish I had done something like this when I was younger. I was born and raised in the mountains of West Virginia (God’s Country) until I was 19 years old and ended up in Texas for work. The mountains on this show takes me home when I watch it and makes me want to return to W Va to spend time using the things I have learned from this show. Then, if I’d Live this life style, I’d have no tv and miss the series Live Free or Die and I guess I would die inside without it each Tuesday night when I get my fix, lol. I hope tonight’s show 11-19-15 was not the Season Finale’, it wasn;t advertised as such, but thought I saw where Life Below Zero runs it’s new season on Natogeo next week in LFOD’s time spot? If so, I’ll be really sad…If so, when will Season 3 Debut? Love the show and people on it. Sincerely, Live Free or Die CAB

  44. Ben
    February 9, 2016, 9:50 pm

    I really love this show. Does any one know the name of the song at the end of season 1?

  45. John
    East coast
    August 20, 2016, 4:45 pm

    In season 2 episode 12….colbert is walking throught the woods talking about his 30years of hunting knowledge….well he comes along a deer rub and first calls it a scrape…..which it is not….its called a rub….the bucks do it to take the velvet off of the antlers….when you see multiple rubs in a area they usually call it a rubb line….it is good to hunt rub lines…however….as anyone who knows about scrapes….they would prefer to hunt them…scrape is made by a buck who is marking his territory. …with 30 years of experience you think he woud…i am 17 years old and was taught by my father who has over 35 yrs. ….in the hunting world and who i admire with hunting knowledge. ….thank you…