The Mormons were lead by Joseph Smith Junior, who believed that he was a modern prophet tasked by God. He led an exodus out of Nauvoo, Illinois to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah
James Wilson Marshall discovered in January of 1848 flakes of gold in the American River in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, this discovery was kept under wraps, but eventually sparked the Gold Rush
Pioneers were moving away from the east and out to the west in order to find freedom of some kind, but a fair amount left for cheaper and larger land
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