This is the classic book about fabulous Death Valley mining booms, of men and women who braved some of the most remote, wild and desolate country east of Yosemite in the Sierra Nevada to find gold and other precious minerals. Many of the colorful characters who contributed to the legendary reputation of mining camps with names like "Dogtown" and Skidoo" were personally interviewed by both Belden and DeDecker.
In the early 1920's, Belden wandered Death Valley as a young reporter for the San Bernadino Sun-Telegram. He befriended the old-timers who shared with him their confidences, many told for the first time in this book. Belden made the Death Valley area a field of intense personal study and research. He loved the desert, an in particular, he loved all that had to do with Death Valley - it's history, landscape and its people. Belden spent more than 50 years at the Sun-Telegram and later served on the California History Commission and Conference of Historical Societies, appointed by then California Governors Jerry Brown and Ronald Reagan. Belden also served as chair of the Death Valley Forty Niners.
Mary DeDecker lived in Independence, California for more than sixty years and climbed throughout the Sierra Nevada with her husband and two daughters. She extensively explored Inyo and Mono Counties by foot and jeep. A self-taught botanist specializing in the study of California native plants, she discovered several new species and one entirely new genus near Death Valley, which was named after her (Dedeckera eurekensis). She served as chair on the boards of the Eastern California Museum, Death Valley Forty Niners and the California Native Plant Society's Bristlecone Chapter.