‘Storage Wars’: Dan Dotson Comes From a ‘Long Line of Cowboys’ and ‘American Auctioneers’

by Jon D. B.

In the grand scheme of things, Laura and Dan Dotson never foresaw their passion for auctioneering becoming A&E’s runaway hit of a reality series, Storage Wars. Yet here we are a whopping 13 seasons in and the show only continues to grow in popularity.

It’s an Outsider favorite, to be sure, and much of this stems from Storage Wars‘ deep Americana roots. Ask any Outsider, however, and we’ll tell you how easy it is to spot a fake. And such lasting power and impact (as Storage Wars has) isn’t achievable through manufacture. It has to be authentic. And Laura and Dan Dotson are as authentically (and hilariously) American as we come.

In the 1800’s we used to bring cattle from Arkansas to California,” Dan revealed in early November for Monsters & Critics. “And we’d feed the miners and we registered the first cattle brand in Tulare County, California in 1847. So, the cowboy’s all inside me, not that much outside.”

Like all Americans, Dan’s lineage comes from elsewhere. “Our family was originally French,” he cites, but those European roots would help forge the very fabric of the American West.

“I come from a long line of cowboys. In 1857 we brought 40 wagons, 28 families, 900 head of horses, and thousands of cattle across the United States,” Dan continues.

It’s hard to imagine a more Western origin story than that. And it was only the beginning.

‘Storage Wars’ is in Dan Dotson’s Blood

You know, my grandfather and my mom were auctioneers, and I have been doing it since I was a kid,” Dotson tells the trade. This upbringing would lead Dan to founding his own company, American Auctioneers, in 1983, which the Storage Wars star breaks down in detail.

“In the early to mid-80s when we started selling these storage units, a lot of my contemporaries were selling cars, horses, or heavy equipment. These were very prestigious-type auctions. So, I just did what I knew, which is to sell storage units,” Dan recalls. “So, I started my own company American Auctioneers in 1983, and we started selling storage units. I didn’t make a lot of money, but I figured if I did enough of them that I could make a living at it. So, that’s kind of where I came from.”

(Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for A+E Networks)

As for the ‘Wild West’ vibes of Storage Wars audiences love so much, Laura Dotson says it all stems from her husband’s California roots.

“When I met Danny, he put on that cowboy hat and cowboy boots and I just thought, ‘Oh, I love this.’ And it’s not just the California guy putting it on, he’s really got roots from that,” she tells Monsters & Critics.

“And what is neat about it is that Danny puts his own spin on it.  So, it might not be a traditional cowboy hat; it’s a little more steampunk. But when he put that hat on I said, ‘I love it. What a neat look,” she continues.

And the rest, is history. Storage Wars‘ Season 13 continues throughout 2021 on A&E.