New England stagemen followed thousands of bedazzled gold rushers out west in 1849, carving out the first public overland transportation routes in California. Daring drivers like Hank Monk navigated treacherous terrain, while entrepreneurs such as James Birch, Jared Crandall and Louis McLane founded stagecoach companies traveling from Stockton to the Oregon border and over the formidable Sierra Nevada. Stagecoaches hauling gold from isolated mines to big-city safes were easy targets for highwaymen like Black Bart. Road accidents could end in disaster–coaches even tumbled down mountainsides. Journey back with author Cheryl Anne Stapp to an era before the railroad and automobile arrived and discover the wild history of stagecoach travel in California.