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Gold Rush
Strike It Rich!

Many different people, from varied locales, traveled to Northern California in hopes of finding gold. Some had the advantage of being close. Others benefited from mining experience or starting capital.

Each of these five characters has a chance. Read about each of them and select one to continue on to San Francisco.

White man from upstate New York

You've never worked in mining -- you work in a printer's shop -- but all the newspapers (even the local New York papers) say that in California, people are just picking gold nuggets up off the ground. This is your chance to impress your father, be worthy of your mother's support and maybe even win over the parents of your sweetheart. You have money saved to support yourself, even after you pay for passage on a ship. The ocean journey from the East Coast will take up to eight months, depending on weather and sailing conditions. The ship sails down around South America's Cape Horn and up to California, a distance of 15,000 miles -- but you've got good books to read on the way.

Inventory: Work clothes, Printer's tools

Californio man from Los Angeles

You've reaped the benefits of the Mexican territory of California, managing a small cattle ranch granted to your father by the Mexican government. Mexico just ceded the California territory to the United States. Traders traveling from northern California deliver news of gold. Gold! This is the only thing the Anglos respect -- this is the way you will maintain your family's home and social position. It will take only a few weeks to get there. You and your servant head north with money and supplies to seek your fortune.

Inventory: Work clothes, Large tent

Chinese man

Your brother in San Francisco sends news of gold in California and urges you to come make your fortune, too. Anything would be better than the hardships you've endured lately. The Chinese government has just raised taxes to pay for a war, and vicious rainstorms wiped out your rice farm. It's a long, difficult journey from the village in Guangdong where you were born and have always lived. But when your ship arrives after traveling over six thousand miles you'll be welcomed by people you know.

Inventory: Cooking equipment

Chilean man

Every ship that docks in Valparaiso brings news of gold in California. Your experience working in Chilean gold mines gives you a competitive edge over all the others racing to the Sierra Nevada. You've packed up your mining tools and head to the docks ready for a relatively short trip by sea -- six weeks up the west coasts of South and North America to San Francisco Bay.

Inventory: Mining tools, Work clothes, Books

White woman from Missouri

Your husband has gold in his eyes and you can't talk him out of packing up and heading to California. But he can't stop you from going with him! While he explores the gold fields, you can make sure the two of you won't starve; after all, you've been cooking for your ten siblings and helping your mother manage the family farm since before you were a teenager. You and your husband have joined five other families and your wagon train will soon head west on a journey of over two thousand miles. If the Rockies don't slow you down too much, it'll take less than five months.

Inventory: Cooking equipment, Sunday Clothes, Guitar

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Gold Rush American Experience

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