On a frigid day in Coloma, California, James Marshall's heart pounded. An excitable man, he held a shiny, metal nugget in his hand. Could this be gold? To test the metal, he hammered it with a rock. It flattened easily, as gold should. When news spread of Marshall's golden discovery, thousands of people traveled to the Wild West in search of fortune. Author Jeff Savage explores the miners, prospectors, and families, who went great distances to find gold. Although most people never found it, the gold rush would change the landscape of the United States forever.