Expedition Unknown Episode Review: “The Legend of Jesse James”

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 1 television episode that first aired January 29, 2015.

Synopsis: Legendary outlaw Jesse James is rumored to have buried millions of dollars worth of stolen loot somewhere in the Midwest but the location of the treasure is still unknown. Host Josh Gates travels to Missouri to learn more about James and attempt to separate fact from fiction before heading to Oklahoma to join veteran treasure hunters as they hunt for the stolen gold.

What I Liked About This Episode

So far in its inaugural season, this show has had Gates visit some pretty remote locations that, while interesting, are spots I’m probably never going to end up visiting in person. The thing I liked about this particular episode was he was visiting places that are just as intriguing (especially that big wilderness park) but are within a reasonable driving distance. I may still never get around to visiting them. But, it’s nice knowing they are practically in our back yard and remain a family vacation option.

Another thing I liked about this episode was the way Gates took the time to research the lesson, first by seeing if the bullet holes James was rumored to have left as a marker would still be around and then by seeing how fast someone could actually travel with mules carrying a full load (I loved that part). It’s something you don’t necessarily see on other shows like this and is something I do thing sets this series and Gates apart from the rest.

What I Didn't Like About This Episode

I pretty much have the same complaint about this one as I did about last week’s episode (when he was searching for Russia’s Amber Room). While his actual treasure hunting and research were somewhat interesting, his overall surroundings were a little bland when compared to some of the other adventures he went on.

In other words, one of the things I’ve always loved about Gates’ adventures is how he usually finds himself in some sort of danger. And, while, granted, repelling down a wet cliff face technically fits that description; it wasn’t anything like riding a motorcycle while avoiding landmines or going into a remote village full of potentially hostile natives.

His travel arrangements were also somewhat bland. He was shown on horses for a short while but traveled mostly by pickup truck. That’s just not as interesting as seeing him paddling a flimsy raft or riding a bamboo railroad car.

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Final Opinion

This was a somewhat interesting episode simply because it is a legend I’ve actually heard about and took place in the Midwest rather than somewhere on the other side of the world. However, while the treasure hunting was somewhat interesting, along with learning a little more about Jesse James, it did seem to be missing a bit of the magic I’m used to seeing from one of Josh Gates’ adventures.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 01/30/2015, StevenHelmer
 
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