It is late spring in the year 1859 and America’s population is overcome by a vast epidemic: Gold Fever. Nowhere is this fervor more rampant than in California…

With gold, however, there comes hunger for wealth and thirst for power. California, though admitted into the United States in 1850, was undecided whether to be treated as a state or a territory. Populations clashed, tempers erupted, and grabs for influence were made. Northern California, which was dominated by mining, shipping, and commercial elites of San Francisco, favored becoming a state. However, Southern California, being exclusively of a rural character—of dry ranches and open range—favored becoming a territory. Further, the bulk of the state was at the time settled by Midwesterners and Southerners, whereas the seat of wealth and power in Northern California—San Francisco—was dominated by a few wealthy men from New England. California was admitted as a free state, though one of its two new senators actively supported the confederate states in the Senate.

By 1859, the differences between the two halves of the state led to an agreement that southern California would secede from the rest of the state. The vote for secession passed in the legislature in 1859. Because secession was approved by both popular referendum and the legislature, and signed by the governor, there remained only the new state's admission into the Union. However, national circumstances would force California to put the issue aside for the time being.

Wars and progress, however, take on battlefields both big and small. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada, between forests and canyons, river and valley, is an unassuming territory that would carve its name into the history of not only California, but in the young and wild United States of America as well. The shining jewel of Placer County is a small town named Dutch Flat. The self-proclaimed “Athens? of the foothills, it boasted excellent musicians, an Opera House where Mark Twain lectured, a thriving amateur dramatical and debating societies, and some of the prettiest, most mythically-beautiful scenery in California. It celebrated 4th of July and Chinese New Year with unparalleled fanfare, due to its diverse peoples and high population of Chinese workers. Dutch Flat was also infamous for using the vaunted “hydrolic? mining process (which would later be shut down in the first environmental court case in history). From the vast mining, the landscape is being torn asunder at an alarming rate.

Large numbers of Chinese immigrants were at work in the canyons below, and as the importance of the high gravels at Dutch Flat were recognized, and the old claims along the rivers were worked out, the Chinese formed a part of the migration from the canyons to Dutch Flat. Dutch Flat's Chinatown began in the 1850s and would become the largest Chinese settlement outside of San Francisco.

In 1859 Dr. Daniel Strong of Dutch Flat invited railroad surveyor Theodore Judah to come and evaluate a possible route across the Sierra. Recognizing the value of the gentle grades and slopes, as well as the already-thriving economy from gold and lumber trades, the plan was approved.

So ripe was the fruit of lucrative possibilities that it was no wonder Dutch Flat would be the bustling hub that drew hundreds of gun-slingers, migrant workers, aristocrats, miners, and honest working families every year.

It was also no surprise that Dutch Flat would have a bounty of problems…
Unexplained accidents, diabolical coincidences, and strange events have been quietly ravaging through the community. No one has an answer, but many have accusations and suspicion. Some say it’s the Chinese camps, others worry perhaps ancient spirits have arisen for vengeance. Perhaps it’s a gang of trouble-makers…Maybe the farmers that have been migrating up from Southern California. Are they after gold? Revenge? How much longer can the mountain community maintain order and stability? When will neighbors begin to turn upon one another?

[Characters can be as diverse as you wish. Brothel owner, Northern Californian aristocrat, a Chinese worker, gold miner…And of course, gun-slingers. Be advised, y’all will have to work together eventually and will have to have a reason to be and stay in Dutch Flat. Player cap will be 8-10. Character sheets as follows.

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I will be starting this RP next wednesday (12th April) and monitoring it every wednesday onwards from there.