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Episode Info:

“Never take no shortcuts.”

This is the story of one of the larger Oregon Trail’s most important branches: California Trail.

The Mexican province of Alta California has some beautiful land, so it’s not hard to see why west-bound Americans might want to make their home there. We’ll hear about newly independent Mexico’s struggles to support Alta California; why American Commodore “Tac” Jones mistakenly seizes (then leaves) Monterey; and of course, how the California Trail gets blazed by brave explorers and settlers. But then, it’s time for tragedy. Have you heard of the Donner Party? If not, I have two words for you: Winter. Cannibalism.

On a lighter note, “there’s gold in them thar hills.” We’ll end with the discovery of gold. So grab your pickaxe (or earbuds). We’re heading to the not-yet-but-soon-to-be Golden State.

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