Gold! Few things in history have sparked the imagination so brightly as this glittering, elusive metal. Long after the fabulous strikes in the Northern California fields had played out, prospectors would search the barren hills of Southern California's great Mojave Desert risking life and fortune in a desperate gamble to find another strike. The 1893 discovery of a nugget worth $1,900 in the then little-known Goler Canyon area of eastern Kern County quickly ignited a new gold rush stampede. Miners, merchants and madams all joined the scramble to gain a share of the wealth coming from the Rand camp mines and help build towns as lively, tought and optimistic as their inhabitants. Roberta Starry's book, Gold Gamble, brings to life the story of the booming Rand Mining district in a history given rich voice by the anecdotes of those who lived and labored there. Atolia, Garlock, Randsburg, Red Mountain, Goler Gulch, and Johannesburg are brought back to life in this account of the humor and hardships, the desperation and hopes of those who, for a little while at least, called this place home. Like all great strikes, the boom would be followed by bust and towns once filled with people, laughter, and gunfights would be abandoned to time and the relic collector. Thought now only living ghost towns visited by the curious traveler, the rich history of the Rand Mining District lives on in the pages of Gold Gamble.