I have just finished watching Breaking Bad, and I am wondering how Walt earned 70 M usd (8 barrels) since most he earned was 7 M per year with Gustavo (I remember his wife calculated it per year, he told her what he made every 2 weeks) and that job didn't last a whole year, and i assume, before with Jesse, and after with Jesse and Mike he was earning less.

All this is from my memory, I could be wrong, but i am very curious.

  • Wasn't there a gap of indeterminate number of years between some seasons? Aug 10, 2014 at 23:26
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    @Jeff-InventorChromeOS Nope. The entire series happened in the period from Walt's 50th birthday to his 52 birthday (+/- a day or two). Just two years. In Season 5 ep. 4 he turns 51, so most of the series is concentrated in the first year. Aug 11, 2014 at 0:52
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    With Gus Fring he was earning a salary as a cook - the $7m per year - when he cooked for himself, he was the vendor - he could make significantly more profit.
    – iandotkelly
    Aug 11, 2014 at 1:45

2 Answers 2


He effectively became his own boss in Season 5, with Gus Fring eliminated. He grew more and more arrogant, but realised he didn't have the operation that Gus had, and thus couldn't hope to reach as many people as Gus did.

As a result, he works with Lydia, an executive for Madrigal, the parent company of Gus' Los Pollos Hermanos. She takes care of distribution for them and we are told on a few occasions that the drug is hugely popular in Eastern Europe.

Evidence of how popular it is can be seen in the gang's theft of a thousand gallons of methylamine (compare that to their theft of a barrel of it in Season 1, with a barrel being roughly 160 litres).

Following this episode, and Todd's murder of the young boy, Mike and Jesse try and end the partnership with Lydia and instead sell to Declan, a competitor based in Phoenix.

When Walt arrives at the meeting, he is able to convince Declan to sell his product, citing its popularity and purity. This works, so Declan is now a distributor of theirs.

Shortly after, Walt learns Mike is on the verge of being arrested and after an angry confrontation kills him. It's after this that Walt goes back to Lydia to establish a deal to distribute his drugs in the Czech Republic.

All of this occurs in Part 1 of the Final Season. We don't see/hear too much about Lydia's operation in Part 2, but it's obvious that the drug has a sizeable presence in Eastern Europe and is being distributed by Declan (until his unfortunate demise!).

Therefore, in answer to your question - Walt earned his $70 million+ through the distribution of Declan to an extent, and far more importantly through the distribution provided by Lydia in Eastern Europe.


If you remember, at the beginning of Season 5 he was essentially starting from scratch. One common theme through the show was that Jesse and Walt seemed to spend or lose just about as much as they made. So, you need to more or less eliminate his salary from Gus as most of what he made was gone, and he only worked for Gus for a short time so he didn't earn a full $7M from him.

When Mike and Jesse told Walt that they both were leaving the business, and wanted to sell their share of the stolen methylamine for $15M to Declan, Walt mentioned that they could potentially make $300M with that much methylamine. He chided Jesse for wanting to sell out for "pennies on the dollar".

BTW, your number is a bit off. It was actually estimated that each of the 7 (not 8) barrels contained ~$11M, so his total take was ~$80M.

In one of the last few episodes, Todd mentions that Walt had used 400 of the 1,000 gallons of methylamine that was stolen. So, extrapolating from that we get roughly $200K for every gallon of methylamine, which means the entire load was worth $200M.

$80M / 400 gallons of methylamine = $200K / gallon of methylamine

$200K (gallon of methylamine) x 1,000 gallons of stolen methylamine = $200M potential

If Walt's original estimate of $300M was correct (at full retail, with no commission), that would indicate that Walt was paying Lydia about 33% commission as a fee for distribution.

$200M / $300M = 67% in Walt's pocket, remaining 33% in Lydia's

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