From 1896 to 1899 one of the greatest adventures in American history played out against the far-flung world of the Yukon Territory. Hundreds of thousands of would-be prospectors, gripped by gold fever, stampeded across murderous mountains, built towns in the middle of nowhere and burrowed into the ground. Out of this whirlwind of riches, survival and violence comes Discovery’s first-ever scripted mini-series, Klondike. The film brings to the screen a story of true-life boomtown Dawson City. Through the eyes of the main hero, Bill Haskell, viewers journey through a land of immense wealth and hardship as the stories of greedy businessmen, seductive courtesans, desperate miners and native tribes become intertwined like veins of gold under the frozen terrain.
Watch VideoFilming in the Yukon
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During the height of the Klondike Gold Rush, boomtowns sprouted up across the Yukon. The biggest and richest of them all was Dawson City. The population exploded from just five hundred people to over thirty thousand in two years once gold was found in the region. This was a twenty-four hour town of saloons, merchants, dance halls and hotels, the heart of the territory and a crucial location for Klondike. Belinda’s business, Father Judge’s church, The Count’s schemes and more all take shape here throughout the series. Re-creating this essential spot meant hours of research with photos and historical accounts of the original city, a place once so soaked in gold that merely sweeping the floors could net you gold dust amongst the dirt.
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Research for Klondike’s wardrobe was a combination of original source materials such as photographs and costume plates of the period interpreted with color and fabrication relative to each character. The physical realities of an adventure like the gold rush were reflected in the cast’s clothing.
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Creating the incredibly authentic look of Klondike took an intense mix of painstaking attention to even the smallest historical details and putting cast and crew through the pains of shooting on some of the toughest locations and in some of the roughest conditions imaginable. From the start, production was racing against Mother Nature, needing to shoot in parts of the country that resembled the forbidding and snowy landscapes of the original Yukon before they began to melt. Klondike never saw the inside of a film studio, shooting everything in the actual outdoors or on sets on location.
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