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The artist writes, “During the summers of 1849 and 1850 throngs of immigrants flocked west to gold-rich California. They took with them the tools and household appliances of the day. But as the treeless land rose to over a mile and a half above sea level, they learned with bitter reluctance that the critical ratio, the survival ratio, was the number of human mouths to one ox or mule. Now, crawling companies began to dump stoves, bedsteads, trunks, bellows, dishes, kettles, harnesses, spades, plows, mirrors, brooms, boiled shirts, anything that added an ounce to the hard limit of twenty five hundred pounds per wagon. While this sorrow was not to be the worst they would endure, it was for the local inhabitants a sort of prairie rummage sale of mostly useless items.”

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