The Bonanza Trail

The Bonanza Trail

Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of the West
Muriel Sibell Wolle
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/01/2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-03327-7
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Searching for gold in the American West was not for the faint of heart. To reach the fabled gold fields of California, prospectors penetrated the boundless high Sierras and the Rockies and crossed the desert wastes of Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. Waves of would-be miners poured into the golden gulches of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, while others climbed to the deeper mines high in the mountains of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. Along the way, they made their homes and earned a living in makeshift camps and towns, many of which have since vanished.

Written back when old-timers still recalled the glorious ordeal of the Old West and many ruins still stood, The Bonanza Trail endures as a classic of western storytelling. Muriel Sibell Wolle traveled 20,000 miles across 12 western states in search of the legendary mining camps and towns where adventure could happen on a dime and dreams of instant fortune filled the days. The risky but always exciting life in those bustling frontier settlements is memorably captured by Wolle in vivid detail and her extraordinary drawings and paintings.

Author Bio

Muriel Sibell Wolle (1898–1977), a renowned painter and drawer of western mining communities, was author of Stampede to Timberline and Montana Pay Dirt. She was also Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Colorado at Boulder.


“With its more than 100 drawings, 14 sketch maps . . . this is a book for all those who find, as the author does, an inexhaustible fund of romantic interest in the story of the search for hidden mineral riches—the search that, though it enriched only the few, accomplished the opening up of America's western frontier.”
 — Chicago Sunday Tribune

“This is the big book that many of us in the West have been praying for . . . the volume tips the scales at three pounds, Troy weight, not a grain of which is wasted.”
 — New York Herald Tribune

“Warmly recommended to all libraries as good popular history and useful reference work.”
 — Library Journal

The Bonanza Trail is the fascinating and definitive book on the ghost and near-ghost towns of the Old West . . . Like the once booming camps and diggings which are its subject, it is a repository of the wonderments, glories, and pathos of pioneer times and romantic bonanzas . . .”
 — The Territorial Enterprise

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Table of Contents


Introduction: The Bonanza Trail

1. New Mexico: Indian Turquoise and Spanish Gold

2. Arizona: Desert Mines in Cactus Hills

3. California: Mother Lode and Mohave Desert

4. Wyoming: Copper and Gold in the Sagebrush

5. Montana: From Alder Gulch to Anaconda Copper

6. Idaho: From Boise Basin to the Coeur d'Alenes

7. Washington: Chief Moses Held the Key

8. Oregon: Strikes beyond the Siskiyous

9. Nevada: Raw Camps in Barren Hills

10. Utah: The Army Turns Prospector

11. Colorado: Stampede to Timberline

12. South Dakota: Indian Menace in the Black Hills