48 Hours – May 22 2021 – 5/22/2021 – Saturday – CBS

“48 HOURS” UNCOVERS NEW DETAILS, RARELY SEEN PHOTOS AND EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS IN THE SOMETIMES-DEADLY HUNT FOR FORREST FENN’S $1 MILLION HIDDEN TREASURE, IN “THE FENN TREASURE” ON SATURDAY, MAY 22 AT 10:00 PM, ET/PT

In 2010 eccentric millionaire Forrest Fenn launched a treasure hunt when he announced that he had hidden a chest worth an estimated $1 million in the Rocky Mountains. Now, 48 HOURS reveals new details, rarely seen photos and exclusive interviews in the sometimes-deadly search for the treasure in “The Fenn Treasure” to be broadcast Saturday, May 22 (10:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Reported by Tony Dokoupil, co-host of CBS THIS MORNING, the broadcast explores the passion that drove people to join the search and the risks they took trying to find it. Dokoupil’s reporting was instrumental in exposing the treasure hunt to a national audience in 2012 when he wrote a lengthy article for Newsweek magazine. Tens of thousands of people set out to search for the treasure—some of them obsessively. Five ultimately lost their lives in the process. The chest was found in 2020, just three months before Fenn died.

The broadcast features an exclusive interview with a treasure hunter who was stranded with a friend on a mountaintop where the friend froze to death. Also featured is an exclusive interview with a medical nurse who helped rescue a Jack Russell terrier named Leo who survived 10 days in freezing temperatures after his owner died while seeking the treasure. The nurse later adopted Leo. Additionally, the broadcast includes interviews with treasure hunters like Sacha Dent, who joined so many others captivated by Fenn’s challenge.

“I really think the greatest thing that drove me was wanting to match wits with the man himself,” says Dent of Fenn, who laid out his treasure hunt challenge in a 24-line poem.

“I think a lot of people really wanted to be part of something bigger than themselves … maybe there was something missing in their lives,” says journalist Dan Barbarisi, author of Chasing the Thrill: Obsession, Death and Glory in America’s Most Extraordinary Treasure Hunt. “And for others it was that they felt that people hadn’t believed in them to the extent that they should have.”

To some, Fenn was a hero, providing a way to instant wealth and adventure in the great outdoors through the treasure hunt. To others, he was reckless and cost lives.

One of the challenge’s many adventurers, Mike Sexson, froze to death in March 2020 while looking for the treasure. Sexson and his friend Steven Inlow got stuck in a snowstorm with little food and water while thinking they were close to finding it. In his first-ever interview, Inlow reveals to 48 HOURS their final hours together and how he was able to survive.

“And I remember (being) on my hands and knees eating the snow crystals and blood was dripping from my mouth, staining the snow,” Inlow says. “I cried for help. I asked God. I asked Jesus … just anyone, ‘call 911, we need help.’”

Desperate for hydration, Inlow began drinking his own urine. He says he told Sexson to do the same, but Sexson refused. Two days later, Inlow recalls waking up at about 2:00 AM and seeing Sexson six feet away.

“He was on his hands and knees with his arms cupped around his head, his head flat on the ground, and he had no shirt on,” says Inlow. “And so I knew … he had died. And I knew why: hypothermia.”

Later that day, Inlow was rescued by a helicopter crew.

“And I knew I was saved, and I passed out. Next thing I know, two guys were picking me up, asking me if I could walk. I couldn’t even stand,” Inlow says. “And I just remember whispering, ‘goodbye Mike.’”

Sexson was the last to die. Three months later, a medical student named Jack Stuef found the chest.

48 HOURS: “The Fenn Treasure” is produced by Paul La Rosa and Dena Goldstein. Kayla Laine is the associate producer. Greg Kaplan, Ken Blum, Mike Baluzy, Jason Schmidt and Greg McLaughlin are the editors. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the executive story editor. Judy Tygard is the executive producer.


This newsmagazine investigates intriguing crime and justice cases that touch on all aspects of the human experience. Over its long run, the show has helped exonerate wrongly convicted people, driven the reopening — and resolution — of cold cases, and changed numerous lives. CBS News correspondents offer an in-depth look into each story, with the emphasis on solving the mystery at its heart. The program and its team have earned critical acclaim, including 20 Emmys and three Peabody Awards.

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About 48 Hours

This newsmagazine investigates intriguing crime and justice cases that touch on all aspects of the human experience. Over its long run, the show has helped exonerate wrongly convicted people, driven the reopening — and resolution — of cold cases, and changed numerous lives. CBS News correspondents offer an in-depth look into each story, with the emphasis on solving the mystery at its heart. The program and its team have earned critical acclaim, including 20 Emmys and three Peabody Awards.

This show is broadcast on CBS, also known as the Columbia Broadcasting System.

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1 Response

  1. Rich says:

    How dare you paint Forrest Fenn in such a negative light. Blaming him for the stupidity of a few searchers. He single handedly influenced more people to get out into nature and explore the wild than any other person in the modern era. For you to negatively slant most of your show with your liberal blame game mentality is disgusting. Another overreaction and attempt at discrediting another great american! You could do a 100 episode show interviewing the people that discovered or rediscovered the wild and the thrill of the chase and how it changed their lives for the better. Start reporting the WHOLE story instead of your twisted narrow minded liberal view of everything.

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