Meet the Hutterites: Breaking the Law

Toby is faced with the toughest part of his job, around-the-clock care for the newborn cows during calving season. The colony can’t afford to lose any cows so it’s up to Toby to care for the sickly calves, give them immunizations and feed them all by himself. There is so much work to do that Toby reaches out to Clinton for help, but Clinton resents being ordered to do anything and is only concerned with partying and sleeping until noon. Even with the colony’s financial livelihood at stake Clinton can’t be bothered to lift a finger to help. Clinton fritters away the last of the colony’s patience when he borrows a colony truck without asking and gets arrested for driving without a license. The entire colony is tired of dealing with Clinton’s horrible behavior, especially his mother who decides she must take action.

Claudia is feeling neglected because her mother Bertha doesn’t spend enough time with her. When she asks to spend more mother-daughter time with her mother, Bertha excitedly agrees. They each decide to choose an activity they can have fun doing together. Claudia chooses a country music concert, which is a problem because of Hutterite rules. Regardless, Bertha agrees, wanting to spend time with her daughter. But everything changes when Carver tells his mom that his last basketball game is on the same night as the concert. When Bertha is confronted to make a decision, she chooses Carver, which makes Claudia very angry. Her only recourse is to give her mother the silent treatment so Bertha knows just how angry and hurt she really is.

Things get worse for Toby when he has to work an extra night shift taking care of the baby calves which means he has no time to spend with his family or even sleep. The cash-strapped colony can’t afford to lose any cows, and when Toby finds a sickly calf in the middle of the night, he does everything he can to save it. The next day Toby finds the calf died which is both sad and stressful for him. Toby doesn’t know how he can possibly finish calving on his own and he can’t afford to lose any more calves.

Bertha reaches the end of her patience when she finds out that Clinton was arrested and kicks him out of her house. Wesley, feeling pity for Clinton’s immaturity lets him sleep at his house, but quickly gets tired of Clinton’s late-night drinking, and daytime sleeping. Wesley kicks Clinton out as well. Even after promising Toby to help take the night-shift with the cows, Clinton chooses drinking and playing pool over doing any work, forcing an already exhausted Toby to test the limits of his endurance.

Will Toby be able to continue his string of 20-hour days without losing any more calves? Will Claudia be willing to forgive her mother or will Bertha’s favoritism drive a wedge between them? And will Clinton ever grow up and become a contributing member of the colony or will his lazy, cocky ways cause him to get into more trouble than he can recover from?


Tune in to Meet the Hutterites: Breaking the Law tonight, July 17th at 10P et/pt.


  1. AreYouCrazy
    July 17, 2012, 4:09 pm

    I use to watch this show but got VERY tired of the scripted shows. Why can’t the show just follow the days in the life of the cast. The show is too fake.. the cast are not actors just good people who are bad at acting. This show could have been interesting but it’s just another scripted ‘reality’ show

  2. Phyllis
    July 17, 2012, 5:20 pm

    I find this show very disappointing in the fact that they are supposed to be Christian (correct?) yet, they curse, drink, and exhibit other nonchristian behavior. I do not understand the actions they exhibit compared to what they profess to be.
    They are deceitful and scream at each other. Very strange.

  3. Stefeney DeForge
    July 17, 2012, 5:50 pm

    These people or community confuse me……They have all these rules about about their lives but they are cussing and drinking and using the Lords name in vain but showing a leg or arm and wearing bright colors is a horrible sin? Keeping the kids uneducated but want to live in the world I am so confused by these people. Are they in this colony for God or ???. Using the Lords name as a cuss word is more of an offense to God, than Claudia wearing that sleeve less dress. Bertha is the worst… she said she would get “Even” to that other lady over dishes that she left in there and forgot about. Maybe they should accutally read the Bible that they worry about and quote. God cares more about your heart and your words then the clothes on your back!

  4. Donna
    New Orleans
    July 17, 2012, 10:42 pm

    I can relate to Clinton’s actions. I acted out in the worse way after my mom’s suicide when I was 15. I couldn’t deal with responsiblities, all I wanted to do was party and drink away the pain.
    It took me years to admit that I was angry with her for leaving me when I needed her and even longer to figure out that her depression was bigger than the both of us.
    It’s hard when the people around you don’t understand.
    Hang in there Clinton, it does get better.

  5. Jules
    Medford Oregon
    July 17, 2012, 10:45 pm

    While I am tired of all these scripted reality shows, I am really enjoying this one. I love this Colony, watching the way they interact with one another is a nice change from ‘reality’ (no pun intended) They are just really good, hard working people, doing all the right things, for all the right reasons. I must admitt I am completely ignorant about thier religious beliefs, but I have always dreamed of communal living along these lines. For them it’s working, and in this day and age, with our broken economy ect.., it’s too bad the younger generation dosen’t think more along these lines. Versus every man for himself. Toby is especailly cute, I would’ve been happy to have a husband just like him.I am enjoying watching this, I find myself looking forward to the next one. Though I sincerely hope doing this show doesn’t change them. I like them ALL, they warm my cold lil’ heart.

  6. Ron Funderburg
    July 17, 2012, 11:47 pm

    I was raised with my brother on a cattle/wheat farm near Hardin, MT. We were told by the locals that the Hutterites were a cult like the Mormons and not to be trusted. Watching this series has really opened my eyes. They are good Christian people with real day to day problems like I had on a working cattle ranch. Scripted or not, I have really enjoyed this program.

  7. ramon
    United States
    July 17, 2012, 11:54 pm

    clinton needs to wake up and smell the coffee he is a grown man

  8. Mike
    July 18, 2012, 12:52 am

    This is a great series, I find the lifestyle, situations and people fascinating. It may seem a bit scripted, but these folks are not accustomed to being in front of the camera. I hope there is another season!

  9. B. Molag
    July 18, 2012, 5:23 am

    I find this so to be excellent tv. My whole family watches it. Very interesting and well produced. I find it compelling learning all the ways of this colony. I hope you continue to do this program. There are so many reality tv shows that families cannot watch together. This one is perfect. We can learn all about other ways of life. Thanks Nat Geo. Oh and the people in the colony are wonderful people. What good wholesome tv.

  10. Andrew
    July 18, 2012, 10:36 am

    The Hutterites are fantastic. Who doesn’t love Bertha and her kids? She’s the best! I enjoy this show. Claudia is a rebel, Clinton is depressed and Carver is a little rebel himself but all of the Hutterites have great personalities and without this show, you would never know about their culture. I’m into it. Toby, even Wesley are all hardworking and decent folks. I’d go up there to check them out. Good show!

  11. Sue
    July 18, 2012, 12:59 pm

    I love this show. I love these people. They are hardworking and try to be good people. They show how we all can get along and be productive and take care of one another. I think Bertha is a super mom. I love her kids. You can see that they are intelligent and inquisitive. You can also see the results of a good upbringing. The best reality show yet! Keep us informed of our many peoples, National Geographic.

  12. JoAnn
    July 18, 2012, 4:58 pm

    This show has been a real surprise to me. Living in a colony, where adults give up their rights to own things and have money in their culture is amazing.
    The fact that their young people remain in the colony is a further surprise!!
    However, it appears that the boys do better and have more freedoms than the girls – which is NOT so uncommon in most cultures.
    Their problems are real and their challenge is astounding, in a day, when just about all of America lives for and in the moment!!!
    Great job and great series – well worth watching~!

  13. Beth
    Dayton, Ohio
    July 18, 2012, 5:13 pm

    I’m hooked! I love this show! Scripted or not, their endearing personalities are real, and this reality series is worth watching! They are not hypocrites, they are good to the core, and have found a way to make both worlds work for them as a community. I dream of a life like theirs! They are hard working, values oriented, and have everyday dilemmas just like everyone else which is eye opening. I get tickled by their unique way of putting things and relationships with one another and admire their dedication to the whole and work ethics. If an education doesn’t fit into their lifestyle who are we to judge? Higher education is a money making scam that “promises” us a better life, all it does is put us in debt the rest of our lives into a career that is difficult to walk away from, like it or not. Vocational education is undervalued by mainstream society, and is the only improvement I could suggest to their education dilemma.Even vocational education is being forced to encourage their students to attend college, when the reality is college is not for everyone. We need workers who can repair cars and farm equipment, weld, farm, cut hair, care for animals… Vocational schools need to be an option for the Hutterites. There is beauty in simplicity and these people are perfection! Thanks for sharing your lives with us and I certainly can get enough, especially in my overly complicated, lonely world. I hope this show stays on for more seasons, I plan to be as loyal a viewer as they are to each other!

  14. Sarah W
    July 18, 2012, 7:14 pm

    National Geographic you should be ashamed of yourself for putting such a contrived/scripted “reality” show on your channel. We look to you for factual programming. If you were doing a true documentary of the Hutterites, I would be fascinated. Instead, you have done your best to make hard working, religious, communal people look like trailer park trash.

    I’m starting to question all of your programming. What is factual and what it for ratings.

    I’ll be spending less time on your channels.

  15. Suzy
    July 18, 2012, 10:07 pm

    I love this show! I have always been fascinated by the Amish and now the Hutterites are very Interesting to me. It’s a very conflicted group of people but I love their human side and their day to day struggles and triumphs.Thank you colony Hutterites for letting us into your world an episode at a time.I can’t watch too much of you guys. Keep up the great work.

  16. kim
    July 19, 2012, 8:20 am

    I love this show. I DVR it and can’t wait till the next episode. I hope there is another season. It may seem a bit scripted but who cares? I who love biographies am glued to people’s lifestyles. To address the people who are confused by their religious beliefs and cussing etc…all people cuss and don’t think they don’t for heaven’s sake. It is part of expression not a slam on religion

  17. Kimber
    July 19, 2012, 10:21 am

    I love this show and it uplifts my heart to see people living a simple life and loving it. I especially love Bertha, she tries so hard for her children, they are lucky to have a mother like her. I love Toby & Marvin too, they are good hard working men, a few of the men out in the world could take a lesson from these men.

  18. Heidi
    Georgia, USA
    July 19, 2012, 12:50 pm

    I love this show. However, I Have read that there will only be 10 episodes and then the door shuts on Hutterite life. The Hutterite Elder’s do not like the show or the portrayal. It’s really too bad as this was probably the most engrossing show on NatGeo these days.

    The new UFO show is terrible, I tried watching it but its just like all the ridiculous Ghost hunter shows, a bunch of people running around in the dark, saying, OMG what was that? It’s getting realllllllly old. I blame the Blair Witch Project for this tired old format of thriller film. American Gypsies is just over the top unreal. Gypsy Court? Really? All woman are pyschics, really really? Just NO. Another terrible Natgeo show: Locked up abroad. Really painfully depressing and redundant different people making terrible choices over and over. Hutterites is the one show going that is uplifting, makes me laugh, makes me feel happy and most importantly opens my eyes to a traditional way of life in the United States that I never even knew existed. GO HUTS!!

  19. Donna
    New Orleans
    July 19, 2012, 6:06 pm

    I would love to do shots with the Hutters!

  20. cheekygal
    kenosha, wi
    July 19, 2012, 9:45 pm

    I love this show!! My mom’s family is from South Dakota near one of the colonies so I grew up hearing about the Hutterites. I love Claudia – she is feisty! I sympathize with her wanting to wear more modern clothes but being restricted by colony rules. Got a couple of suggestions though – why not wear headscarves that would match your dresses? Also, why not make mix and match skirts and vests with blouses underneath. If you want to wear something more like pants – back in the old west days ladies used to wear split riding skirts -maybe you could design a pattern that would allow you to wear that. Personally, I would think that that would be more modest than a skirt that blows up in the wind and can show more skin. I’m rewatching some of the episodes today and it seems to me that the guys have an easier time getting extra things than the girls – what about baking cookies and muffins and selling them to some of the offices in town. The elders could’nt object because it is not a job that is working for someone else -its a job working for yourself. Anyway I hope that the show continues and comes back next season.

  21. Pam Andrews
    Pensacola, Florida
    July 19, 2012, 11:54 pm

    These people are to inbred. This is causing problems. They need to allow their kids to marry out side their community as long as they find mates that want to adhere to their way of life and religious beliefs.
    One problem that has arisen from their interbreeding is the suicide of Berthas husband and if she does not get counseling for her children she will have more grief in the form of suicide. It is often inherited and all 3 of the kids are showing signs of depression themselves. Clintons’ rebellion and constant sleeping is a classic sign. Carvers anger another and Claudias need to have independence no matter the punishment is another. But I do have to say in Claudias case….Go Girl.

  22. messedupworld
    July 20, 2012, 12:05 am

    I used to like this show but more and more it doesn’t have my values because of their lies that just roll out of their mouths! The greedy girls are not a good example at all!

  23. messedupworld
    July 20, 2012, 12:13 am

    These Hutterites do nothing but complain and act more greedy than ANYONE I know, They don’t share well nor ever appear to be believable about their life except their partying and doing all the bragging about what they are doing that they are supposed to NOT do!

  24. tbone
    July 20, 2012, 1:11 am

    They talk like Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys.

  25. Aloha
    July 20, 2012, 2:30 pm

    Watching the animal killing and slaughtering I can do without.

    I love Bertha and I would love to keep watching the show..But, I can’t take the way they kill animals on the show. I turn the channel when they do this.

  26. Nila Atkins
    Roseburg Ore
    July 20, 2012, 3:06 pm

    Of course this show is scripted. You can bet that these people if they really followed thier belief would not behave the way they do. And them hurting finacially is another fallacy. They are getting paid to do this show. Or else you can bet that they would not be doing it. The whole show is a joke. They dont follow God. but the all mighty dollar. Dont be fooled people. Shame on Nat Geo too. The programs they have scripted such as these are nothing more than a feeble attempt to get rating.;.

  27. victoria
    July 20, 2012, 11:16 pm

    This is a interesting show. It has a lot of things wrong. but it’s still amusing. I am shocked with the level of profanity and drinking that goes on in The Colony. How can they take God’s name in vain like that? I wished that the show wasn’t so scripted. Just love Toby and Marvin.They are characters!

  28. glogrl
    July 21, 2012, 5:32 pm

    Nat Geo great show…I love the Hutterites. Wish there were more ppl like them in this world. I would love to meet each and everyone of them especially Bertha and Claudia love those two. Claudia you go girl but please be careful over stepping your bounds….Remember what happend to your mom when she got shunned from the colony…i know you love your mom and your curious about the outside world but nothing is more important than family. Yor mother has gone threw enough heartache so listen to your mother cause she is always right….and as for Carver …No more fighting….your better than you guys and hope to see you next season .Keep up the good work

  29. Heartprints
    July 21, 2012, 7:51 pm

    I noticed that they don’t have televisions

  30. Amanda Ishee
    July 21, 2012, 8:29 pm

    I like the show.They live different than us,but they do work hard.D in Texas

  31. Amanda Ishee
    Cleveland Texas
    July 21, 2012, 8:32 pm

    My favorites on the show are Bertha and Lisa.I lke the show.Yes slaughtering is hard to watch ,but part of life to survive.D

  32. Kate
    July 21, 2012, 8:48 pm

    When Claudia made that dress it was said several times that they dress the way they do because it says to in the bible. Tell me where in the bible it says you have to wear ugly dresses and head scarves and look like an 80 yr old women?

  33. Nancy
    Phoenix, AZ
    July 21, 2012, 11:40 pm

    My husband, who is from Vietnam, really enjoys this show and is fascinated by the culture. Now has me hooked. We just absolutely love Bertha – she is a loving and compassionate mother. I watch it just for her! Regardless of her children’s issues, she loves them fiercely. Who could ask for more in a mother. I hope the show continues!

  34. Pam
    Navarre, FL
    July 22, 2012, 1:52 am

    I absolutely LOVE every single member of this group. Have had a marantha catching up on this AWESOME series. Took the time to read some of other comments. Please ignore all negative remarks. As Christians we know there are alot more non believers than believers.I see so much genuine love. I love how all of you interact with each other. Looking from the outside I understand all the varieties of opinions. I think ALL of you are doing an awesome job. Dont give up. I think it’s positive to know how to do VARIOUS jobs. The more each of you uderstand each others roles, it only helps each of you individually. Hang in there. Love, love to you all.

  35. sheila
    little rock
    July 22, 2012, 1:55 am

    This show is a joke! If you love Chrst and see his name as holy…you don’ttake his name in vane. I take exception to some of the Bible quotes Berta thros out there when it ptoves equitable to her; and being against educating their children and practically fotbiddinit, makes absolutely no sence. Perhaps when wesley had to go to the hhospital, had there education been better maybe what the doc said would have encouraged some real change. My most adamant complaint about the show iis their failure to see that professing to be good mrn and women in Chrst and they cuss and use the launage they do….evev BERTA! HOW CAN SHE EXPECT RESPECT FROM ANYONE IF SHE REFUSES TO DO SO TOWARDS OTHERS. I JUST DONT SEE WHERE THE WORD FREAKING SHOULD BE ANYWHERE IN HER CONVERSATIONS. SAME OLD DISCRIMINATION OF THE SEXES…ANTYTHING MAN DOES IS OK…WOMAN IS ONLY A SECOND RATE SLAVEz

  36. John
    July 22, 2012, 3:11 pm

    This is a fun show. I like all the people in the show. Don’t be critical about the show. It’s not a 100% reality. I can see the show is being scripted. Who cares.. it’s a fun show. I enjoy it a lot. Claudia is beautiful, her mother is cute, and all the guys are fun. It’s a good watch.

  37. Karyn
    July 23, 2012, 1:42 am

    I am one of the fans of this show too, living in California I had never heard of the Hutterites. Although I find the Amish also facinating. The fellowship they have and working together to help the Colony. I was truly sadden to learn that they only agreed to 10 episodes. The elders not wanting to proceed with any more episodes is truly heart crushing to my family. We also watch this show as a family. To find something wholesome is comforting.
    As a child we watched Merlin Olsen Wild Kingdom and Disney as a family gathering.
    Nowadays there is not much that the whole family can gather and discuss and enjoy.
    Bertha is truly a trooper, living with the past and moving forward with her children. Lesson learned and lessons of life, is very forthcoming in the learning of the world and the coming of age. Learning the lessons of life.
    These days families can be so distant and not the unity that the past is slowly fading.
    I would like the Elders to please reconsider and do many more episodes. It brings financial gains to the community and learning the lifestyle and bringing information of there existance to the masses.

  38. Max E Stanton
    July 23, 2012, 1:33 pm

    I am a social anthropologist and have been visiting Hutterite colonies since 1984. I have a deep and loving respectfor Hutterite life and culture. There are nearly 500 Hutterite colonies with approximately 50,000 members spread from eastern Washington State to the Canadian province of Manitoba and from the SE corner of South Dakota tp NE British Columbia.

    In response to some of the discuaaion in these “Comments” I feel it important to stress that Hutterites are often removed from “Outside” society–but they are highly connected to their “greater” Hutterite world. In one colony in southern Alberta a daily intercom message is heard in each home regarding births, deaths, marriages-and other interesting events in the 140 Lehrerleut colonies. Young men and young women of all three Hutterite sub-grpous, referred to as “Leut” by the Hutterites themselves) have frequent opportunites to meet and freely interact with each other at marriages and funerals. Every married woman has the opportunity to return to her home colony for about three weeks each year with her unmarried children. A single young women often travels to another colony (sometimes hundreds of miles away) to help a sister or cousin who has just had a baby–or to tend to the needs of an elderly person or to care for a close relative who has a seriuus illness. Young single adults often visit near-by colonies of the same “Leut” (sub-group within Hutterite socisty) to help in harvest activities, building construction, or just to pick up or deliver equipment or produce.

    I have visited 140 colonies and have spent a collective 800 days and nights with Hutterite families in some 70 colonies. All I can add to this discussion is that there is not “typical” Hutterite colony. The Hutterites are divided into three sub-groups (Schmiedeleut, Dariusleut and Lehrerleut) frequently referred to by the Hutterites as “Leut.”. I am presonally acquainted with most of the fourteen Montana Dariusleut colonies–(fifteen if you count Flat Willow). The King Ranch colony in the NGS series is a Dariusleut colony.

    If you were to visit all fifteen Montana Dariusleut colonies, you would soon realize that each colony has its own distinct “collective personality”–if you satyed a bit longer in any one of these Montana colonies, you would also soon realize that each family within a specific colony has its own distinct “personality”–and if you were to stay eve a while longer with any one family in a specific colony, you would soon realize that each person within that family has his or her own deistict personality.

    Since the Hutterites practice a form of post-marriage residence called “patrilocal” (the men stay with the group into which they were born and their wives leave their home residence to live with their husband in his home place of resicence)–most of the men in any given Hutterite colony are usually first cousins, brothers, uncles, or grandparents to the rest of the men in the colony–making their children closely related, as well. This tends to create a casual familiarity that spreads throught the whole community. The apparent rudeness and back-biting seen in the “American Colony” series is, to me, simply a manifestation of this close family bond. The men may seen too strict and insensitive, the women may seen too submissive-or rebellious. That is normal and to be expected in virtually every large family anywhere. (How many of you have gone to a family reunion and have not seen such pettyness and rivalry boil to the surface?) Remember the old phrase: “Familarity breeds contempt.”

    However, these same people can be intensly loyal and supportive to one another.It is importamt to know, all Hutterite colonies follow the New Teastament dictum found in Acts 2:44 to “…hold all things common.” This community of goods permeates their whole life. They are a true living example of Christian commual living by giving all of one’s possessions to the benefit of the community-at-large.

    They are, however, human and might sometimes exhibit the all-too-human traits of selfishness and jealousy-but in the end, the Hutterites are deeply committed to service and surrender to what they would consider the “better needs of the whole.” They truly beieve in the strength of the community (Gemeinde, in German) and freely (if not sometimes reluctantly) submit themselves to the will of God (Gelassenheit).

    Yes. Some parts of the series are scripted and staged. For example, virtually all Hutterites in all three “Leut” usually converse among one another in their Bavarian-Austrain dialect which some refer to as “Hutterisch.” (Although English is ofter heavily sprinkled in their conversation in ramdon words and phrases), all conversations in the “American Colony” series are in Englidh and therefore seem to me to be contrived and ofter “stilted.”

    And as incorrectly implied, this NDS series focusing on the King Ranch colony is not the first Outside look into Hutterite life. The Canadian National Film Board produced an excellent documentary “The Hutterites” in the 1960s focusing on a Dariusleut colony in the Edmonton, Alberta area It is now freely available in the Internet. In the early 1980s John Ruth produced another excellent docomentary, :”The Hutterites: To Care and Not to Care” that expanded its forcus to include all three Hutterite sub-groups-even to briefly show the Owa colony in Japan. Then in the 1990s BBC produced the somewhat controversal documentary, “How to Get to Heaven in Montana” that focused on the collapse of Hutterite communal life in the Flat Willow colony. Another colony, Pincher Creek, in Alberta has been recently featured in a documentary film produced by a German company.

    Many events and episodes in the “American Colony” series are probably not authentic. (According to his first cousin who lives in a near-by Montana Dariusleut colony, Wesley Hofer, did not have a heart attack. Regarding the visit to the farmer’s market episode, I know from personal experience that Lewistown is really too far from Billings for any colony to conveniently make a one day round-trip excursion. Because of their close day-by-day interaction Hutterites are very careful about leaving messes behind for others to clean up. Therefore, I really doubt that Claudia did not “accidently” leave scraps of sewing material out for others to quickly find, thus revealing that she had made a non-Hutterite dress. Etc,) But Wesley Hofer has gone on record that,from his pioint-of-view, the series accurately portrays his perceprion od what really happened.

    Finally, formal education seems to be a “thorny issue” thouoghout the series. There are many near-by Dariusleut colonies in central Montana that fully support education, K-12. The only thread that seems to unite the Dariusleut colonies–and is not clearly shiwn in the series– is that the educational process should, if at all possible, be taught within the colony itself. The principal problem with King Ranch colony, therefore, appears to me that thier young people attend high school outside of the colony. One person who is an important figure in the series, Rita Hofer, has a son Wesley who is college educated. Her mother, Anna Stah from the neay-by Ayres Ranch colony, who recently passed away–had the nick name “English Anna.” She had two college degrees from the University of Montana which she received in the 1950s via the university extension course classes–with the help of a non-Hutterite school teacher who tahught the K-8 classes in a single room (multi-graded) classroom. Anna Stahl was also a liscensed airpleane pilot!

    My suggestion is to please do not judge all Hutterites by one standard or by one colony, and please do not assume that even all of the people in the same colony (King Ranch colony included) are cut out of the same “cookie cutter” mold. And, know that the approximately 50,000 Hutterites entered the Twenty-first century on the same day as the rest of the world. They too, are hard put to play the balancing act of coping with the tremendous forces of social, economic and technological change that all the rest are daily forced to confront. And know this as well. As a member of a small semi-isolated minority, they have to cope with the Outside world on a daily basis–and that they know a lot more about the rest of the world than the rest of the world knows about them. And, a lot of what they know and see in the Outside world is really difficult for them to embrace and accept. Just how much they are willing to change and accept often varies within a family, colony or on a “Leut” basis, From what I have observed in the past twenty-five years of close-up contact with my friends, the Hutterites, this attempt to hold on to the best of what their religious and cultural heritage offers them is a tremendous challenge. Things that are often new and confusing have been something they have dealt with since their early years, initally in the 1500s in Austria–then in their 250 year soujourns in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine–to the Western frontier days in the Dakota Terriroty in the 1870s. Then their mass migration to Canada during World War I, the cruel and restrictive Communal Lands Act of Alberta from 1944-1973 (that resulted in the movenemt of Dariusleut and Lehrerleut colonies from Alberta to Saskatchewan, and Montana–and Dariusleut colonies to Washington and British Columbia)–to the current era of instant mass communication via telephone, FAX and the Internet (many Hutterites have email accounts they can access either though their colony public school server or at most rural public libraries). Also rapid travel by car and van to virtually all corners of the Hutterite world in a single day-two at thr most. They have a unique heritage they are trying to preserve, with the full knowledge that some degree of change is inevitable. And in my opinion they have done a remarkably good job in their “balancing act.”

  39. denny
    July 23, 2012, 11:51 pm

    Max! Thank you so much for you indepth explanation of the Hutterite colonies and life they lead. I grew up in a small town in Washington state and seeing Hutterites in town were very common and they were just a part of our community. As I was younger, I didn’t really know much about them though. I enjoy the show but surely don’t believe that it is all reality and believe that many scenarios are set up just for our entertainment. But I love their spirit and individuality!

  40. THorte
    Northern Alberta
    July 24, 2012, 2:34 pm

    Thank you Mr Stanton.
    After 6 years of being an English school teacher on several different colonies in Alberta, you describe the people I have come to know and care for. And when I was ill they offered me help, and when I was greiving the loss of my parent they offered me love. Their children are just like our children, their families are just like our families. Some of the things they do still confound me but when I asked a little girl in grade 5 to explain what being a hutterite girl ment to her she described it so well ” I always have someone to talk to, I know no matter what I need someone will be there for me… I will never be lonely I can be alone if I want there are places I can go on the farm but if I need help someone will always be there for me.” what a wonderful way to raise a child.

  41. Elizabeth
    Los Angeles, CA.
    July 25, 2012, 4:56 pm

    Love the show. Can’t wait for Season 2. Favorite person on show is Claudia and can’t wait for see what she has planned for each episode. Thanks Nat Geo for bringing such fascinating reality shows. Also the episodes on the Amish.

  42. Texas Granny
    C. Texas
    July 25, 2012, 9:07 pm

    I really like the show. I do think they(Hutterites) need to change thinking on education. You know ,why not give them the chance to try further education, I will lay money on it theyll come back(the young Hutterites). You know give the little bird a chance to fly ,9 times out of 10 the little bird comes back.

  43. Maria
    San Diego, CA
    July 25, 2012, 10:23 pm

    I find this series charming. I had never heard of the Hutterites. No, they are not perfect human beings, but they work very hard, and care deeply for their families and community! Thank you Mr. Stanton for your valuable contribution.

    I think that there are several reasons why the programs seem contrived. First, I am sure that several situations are recreated after the fact, and certainly there is usually some discussion by one of the individuals involved in the particular scene, explaining some of the issues. Probably they want to preserve some privacy.

    Also, they all have an accent, so their speech seems stilted to us. The program would be difficult to follow if they always spoke German. The producers probably decided to have them speak English to make it easier for the viewers, rather than using subtitles.

    As far as the cousin stating that Wesley did not suffer a hear attack, that was made clear in the episode. The Doctor told Wesley that this was a warning to change his lifestyle, but he did not have a hear attack.

  44. Robin
    July 26, 2012, 7:46 pm

    Love this show because it is about a community and not a me world. I love that women dare to be women and men are men in this Colony. Decisions to stay or leave is a big one for the younger generations but I say think hard because the outside world is tough and not so kind as your secure world is in the inside. Just keep Jesus first!!

  45. Texas Granny
    C. Texas
    July 29, 2012, 4:13 pm

    Hope the Elders change their mind and let them do more episodes. I really like the show. I love Bertha,she has

  46. Texas Granny
    July 29, 2012, 4:21 pm

    She has such a such a sweet personality .Bertha makes money for the Colony (if theyll kee p doing the show) just by being herself.signed Texas Granny

  47. Texas Granny
    July 29, 2012, 4:26 pm

    Thanks M. Stanton. Learned a lot from your article on the Hutterites.

  48. Thelonius L
    Yakima, WA
    July 31, 2012, 7:24 pm

    Having known real Hutterites, I can’t watch this fake show. If this is a genuine colony, they gave up any pretense of being true Hutterites a long time ago. Just another scripted reality show.

  49. Sarah in St.Louis
    July 31, 2012, 10:22 pm

    PLEASE NATGEO MAKE A SEASON 2! Our family really enjoyed this show!

  50. Ryan
    North Dakota
    September 13, 2012, 4:33 pm

    I really enjoyed this show. What’s fake or not, I have no idea, I wasn’t there on the production team. What I can speak from experience on is their language and accent. They do speak German as their first language, and so they do have an accent when they speak English. That’s not contrived. Growing up and still living here in North Dakota, I’ve heard Hutterites speak both German and English all my life, and they sound the same as everyone on the show. Their English is very good, so why not English for an English speaking viewing audience?

  51. ja
    January 31, 2013, 9:01 am

    These colonies are no more than cults. They don;t want the youngsters to get educated because they are afraid they will all leave the colonies. Also i have never known such a sexist organisation, woman not allowed to do this that or the other. The people are not allowed to own anything or have anything, the reason for this is so obvious. If the people have nothing, they would find it very difficult or impossible to actually leave the coloney. If they have no real money they would stand a chance out on there own. They are basiclly being held on these farms.

  52. L Copps
    United States
    February 1, 2013, 12:17 am

    I hope the Hutterite elders will reconsider their distain for the series that does not portray a polished picture of perfection, or Hutterite life at its perfection. What it does show are real people who many of us have taken into our hearts. I now have great respect and fondness for the Hutterite people, even though I had no Idea who they were only a year ago. Since getting hooked on the show, I have researched their culture and foster great respect for their way of life. I only hope there is a season 2 some day. The NG has made Hutterites known in millions of households, and we have accepted them with great affection. I only wish they would continue to let us peer more into their secret world.