There is nothing like the power of gold. When hard-working carpenter James marshall spotted "something shiny" in the American River on January 24, 1848, he felt the power. Soon, so did the rest of the country. Within weeks, thousands rushed to the land of glittering dreams. Young, old, white, Mexican, or Indian, gold fever gripped them all. The quest for instant wealth created just as many problems as it solved. Classic photographs and stories reveal the exciting tales of triumph, turmoil, strife, new-found wealth and failure.