Sons of Winter

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Sons of Winter TV Poster Image
Real-life bros take dangerous rite-of-passage hunting trip.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Take risks, but be smart.  

Positive Role Models & Representations

Adults teach and mentor the next generation. 


Wild animal hunting, trapping; bloody carcasses visible. Accidents happen; injuries sometimes shown. 


Folks strip for survival purposes. No nudity. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the reality series Sons of Winter follows brothers Dale and Shane Barks, two young men who set out on a 90-day hunting trip in the Northern Canadian Territories. Years ago, teacher Randy Barks moved his young family to uninhabited Northern Saskatchewan to live like the pioneers of past, and now his sons get to prove they can make it through a winter on their own. The show features lots of talk about the dangers of living in the wilderness, plus lots of hunting, trapping, and dead animals (some of which are bloody). Accidents and life-threatening moments also are shown. People partially undress for survival purposes.  

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysonnycrockett May 13, 2015

Very educational about values and a different way of life.

Reality show worth watching. Shows kids about how others live and the struggles of living "off the grid."
I really enjoyed the closeness the family sh... Continue reading

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What's the story?

SONS OF WINTER is a reality series following 20-year-old Dale and 19-year-old Shane Barks, two young men setting out on a 90-day winter hunting and trapping trip in the Northern Canadian Territories. Years ago, teacher Randy Barks moved his young family to uninhabited Northern Saskatchewan to live like the pioneers of past. Now near adulthood, his two older sons arm themselves with a radio, traps, rifles, and their smarts and leave the family homestead to live and trap deeper in the wilderness hundreds of miles away. While the rest of the family works hard to find meat and sustain themselves throughout the big freeze, they also worry about the brothers' overconfidence. But Dale and Shane soon learn they're not invincible and must think carefully about the risks they're going to take if they want to survive the journey. 

Is it any good?

The series offers a voyeuristic look into the lives of people who have chosen to live in the isolated and punishing wilderness of the Northern Region. Much of the show's entertainment value comes from the mistakes made and mishaps created by the boys, ranging from not securing their food to falling through the ice. Though some of these seem minor, all can have deadly consequences. 

Framing the boys' trip as a journey into manhood feels a bit contrived, and Randy Barks' musings about the acceptance of the inevitable dangers they face while "living freely" gets a little tiresome. But if you like the many other outdoor-themed reality shows out there, you'll appreciate the endless hunting activities, as well as the casts' constant plans for survival in a place where they have no control.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what life is like in remote areas of the world. What's it like to live in a place with no neighbors, no stores, no electricity, no television, and no Internet? Do you think you could live like these folks for any period of time?

  • Do you think the story being told here is real? Or is it manufactured to make this family's life appear more entertaining for TV? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love rustic reality

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