April 16, 2013

Documentary: The Gold Rush

On January 24, 1848, James Marshall found gold near the fork of the American and Sacramento Rivers, and unleashed a massive migration from around the world to what had been a forgotten backwater. With head-spinning speed, these gold-seekers created one of the most extraordinary societies in history -- hard-driving, overwhelmingly male, often brutal.

The Gold Rush was a remarkably international event; in short order, gold-seekers from Oregon and the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), Mexico, Chile, England, France, Australia, Ireland, and China were soon knee-deep in water in the diggings. Each found themselves playing the Great California Lottery, in which luck not hard work or honesty, seemed the key to success.