Golden Anniversary

The rush for treasure in the West is more than part of a picturesque past; it has profoundly shaped our present

On January 24, 1848, one hundred and fifty years ago this month, a man named James Marshall was inspecting a millrace that he had just constructed on the American River, not far from Sacramento, California. He had turned the water into it the night before to clear the debris, and now something “about half the size and the shape of a pea” glinting in the water caught his eye. “It made my heart thump,” he remembered later, “for I was certain it was gold.” To his workmen he said, “Boys, by God, I believe I have found a gold mine.” Read more »

The King Of Ranchers

He never packed a gun or led a posse or burned down a homesteader's hut, but in his time Henry Miller owned more land than anyone else in the West.

One of the great collectors in this nation’s history was a cattleman named Henry Miller. What he collected was land. During his long, intense lifetime, he did not succeed in acquiring all the land in the Far West, but he came as close as anybody is likely to come. It is estimated that at the peak of his career, near the end of the last century, he owned outright some 1,400,000 acres and had under his control through lease and grazing arrangements ten times that much.