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Between 1862 and 1867, eight wagon trains carrying at least 1,400 people set out from Minnesota for the gold fields of Montana. These carefully edited letters and diaries trace their progress, revealing their day-to-day experiences, their successor lack of itin finding gold, and their lives in bustling mining settlements. Private dreams of quick fortunes in El Dorado and public dreams of commercial empire and national greatness moved the emigrants, writes Helen McCann White in her introduction, which places the three-month expeditions in their broader historical context and interprets their significance for the development of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and Montana. An appendix identifies more than 850 members of the trains.