grit and hold jayhawkers death valley jean johnson true west magazine
Grit and Gold: The Death Valley Jayhawkers of 1849 by Jean Johnson (University of Nevada Press, $34.95)

After news of the discovery of gold in California in 1848, thousands of individuals made their way to the west coast of America. Fueled by the desire to line their pockets, a group of young men from the Midwest set out for the West in 1849. Ill-prepared for the journey, the men emerged from Salt Lake City on a bogus trail. Death Valley historian Jean Johnson tells their harrowing tale in her new book Grit and Gold: The Death Valley Jayhawkers of 1849 (University of Nevada Press, $34.95). “During their adventures west, they forged bonds of friendship that later saved the lives of several of them as they struggled through the Nevada-California deserts,” Johnson wrote. “[Their] quest took them through uncharted lands and caused untold suffering before they could begin to toil for gold.”

—Erik Wright, author of Phil Foote: Lawman, Outlaw…Hell-Raiser

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