Agnes C. Laut’s The Cariboo Trail is a fascinating history of the Canadian gold rush that began in 1858. When, in early 1849, a group of ragged miners arrived in the sleepy town of Victoria from California, no one would have believed that a little over ten years later a gold rush would hit the Fraser River.
Between 1859 and 1871, thousands of miners and prospectors travelled north and east from the headwaters of the Fraser River, with the hopes of striking it rich. And many did—over the course of twelve years, twenty-five million dollars in gold came from the Cariboo country.
Originally published in 1920 as part of the Chronicles of Canada series, Laut’s exciting and personalized account of the Cariboo gold rush is filled with tidbits gleaned through conversations with “old-timers” still living on the trail and facts acquired on trips in the Rockies guided by prospectors. From the story of the construction of the famous Cariboo road—"one of the wonders of the world"—and the Overlanders’ journey across the width of the continent to details about the techniques and machinery used in the mines and life in the camps, the period, the gold rush, and the Cariboo region are brought to life for the reader.
Though it had ended by federation with the Canadian Dominion, the “inrush of miners” during the Cariboo gold rush gave birth to the colony of British Columbia. The Cariboo Trail is a more than just a narrative of those events—it is a thoroughly enjoyable and integral part of the history of the region and of Canada.