Arriving in covered wagons, clipper ships, and on horseback, some 300,000 migrants, known as “forty-niners”, staked claims to spots of land around the river, where they used pans to extract gold from silt deposits.
light it up johnny! time to get some gold!!
Though migration to California was fueled by gold-tinted visions of easy wealth and luxury, life as a forty-niner could be brutal. The lack of housing, sanitation, and law enforcement in the mining camps and surrounding areas created a dangerous mix.