In 1848, carpenter James Marshall made a chance discovery that would change the face of the American West. That discovery: a few shiny flakes-of gold in a riverbed he was digging. Within a year 800,000 gold-seekers from all over the world were on their way to California, and the Gold Rush was on. This book covers the entire period of the boom-and-bust of one of the greatest expansion periods in US history-from the dangers of the journey, to the rough and tumble of the mining settlements, the day-to-day life of a miner and those who provided services to him, the easy-come-easy-go fortunes won and lost, and the Boomtowns that turned to Ghost Towns when the rush was over. Packed with period photographs, original artifacts, illustrations of daily life in the mining towns, and plenty of historical detail, this book will capture the imagination of young readers who love the idea of striking it rich.