|The Sierra Nevadas
form a natural barrier along California's eastern border that forced
most early emigrants to swing north into Oregon or south through Utah
and Arizona. Impatient to make their fortune, many Forty-niners followed
a more direct route, struggling across at Truckee Pass -- which is
the path Charles Crocker followed
when he broke through the Sierra Nevadas in 1868
to create a transcontinental railroad.