In 1848 Gold was discovered in California leading to one of the biggest gold rushes in U.S history. Hundreds of thousands headed towards California to strike it rich. Many small fortunes were made for many years to come.
Alaska was next in the 1870's and 1880's. Fortune seekers traveled by ship to Skagway or Dyea and from there a long dangerous walk through the White Pass, or Chilkoot Pass, to the border area between the United States and Canada. Thousands of people died on there quest for Gold! Billions in gold were pulled out of those 2 gold rushes..
But as the saying goes, there's still gold in them thar hills.