In 1848, a sawmill worker named James Marshall reached down into the stream bed of the American River in California -- and came up with the future of the West in the palm of his hand. He had discovered gold.
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The blacksmith dropped his hammer, the carpenter his plane, the mason his trowel, the farmer his sickle, the baker his loaf, and the tapster his bottle. I have only a community of women left and a gang of prisoners, with here and there a soldier who will give his captain the slip at the first chance. I don't blame that fellow a whit. Seven dollars a month, while others are making two hundred or three hundred a day. - Walter Colton.