Gold Rush

There’s just something about gold that makes people do some pretty crazy things. What would you do to get your hands on some of that glittery goodness?

LanguageEnglish Language
U.S. HistoryAntebellum Period and Manifest Destiny: 1815–1860

Transcript

00:30

Word spread quickly, and people from all over the world travelled to central and northern

00:35

California. And it wasn't for the weather.

00:38

Well... not just for the weather. But gold prospecting wasn't the safest way

00:42

to make a quick buck... or even a million of them.

00:45

Any idea what 187 pounds of explosive can do to ya?

00:52

Many of the very first prospectors -- the "48ers" -- had made many years' wages

00:57

in a very short time... ...but the 49ers usually came up empty.

01:02

Yet just the chance of finding gold caused hundreds of thousands of people to abandon

01:06

their former lives and travel across the world. Just how desperate were people back then...

01:12

,,,to risk life and limb and everything they had...

01:15

... for a small chance of hitting the jackpot? What would you risk to make a million dollars?

01:20

An arm? A leg?

01:22

What about ten million... or a hundred million?

01:26

Nowadays, reality game shows push contestants

01:28

to their limits in exchange for big-money prizes.

01:31

How much money would get you to eat a bug, or live on a deserted island?

01:36

What if somebody promised you lots of money to take a locked suitcase on a plane to a

01:40

foreign country... would you do it?

01:44

Where do you draw the line? What would you do for life-changing money?

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What sort of chance would you be willing to take?

01:52

Shmoop amongst yourselves.