On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's Mill in Sacramento. In March of 1848, Samuel Brannon (of the Ship Brooklyn) strode through the streets of San Francisco holding aloft a vial shouting, "Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!"

On August 19, 1848, the New York Herald is the first eastern newspaper to report the gold strike.

On December 5, 1848, President Polk confirmed the discovery of gold to an address before congress. The Gold Rush is on!

Although there was some truth to the fact that you could pick up nuggets just laying in the streambeds without picks or panning, by the time the Easterners arrived the easy "pickings" were over.