Gold And Silver In The Mojave

Images of a Last Frontier

By Nicholas Clapp

Softcover 200 pages - 10" x 9"


Gold And Silver In The Mojave + Death Valley Map
Item - 9181BM


Gold And Silver In The Mojave - Book only
Item 9181



In the 1890s, historian Frederick Jackson Turner lamented that the days of the Old West were over. He was wrong. He had overlooked some 50,000 square miles of the Mojave Desert destined to become one of America's final frontiers.

In this arid land, unsettled and sketchily mapped - A written off as godforsaken or worse - there would now be a headlong twenty-year rush for riches. Reported a newspaperman of the era, "Wonder camps were thronged with builders and wreckers, tradesmen and vultures, miners, cooks, gamblers and more gamblers, whores galore, what have you...." And, photographers. Overnight towns named Randsburg, Tonopah, Goldfield, Rhyolite, Greenwater, Skidoo, Ballarat, and Bagdad popped up in this arid desert as gold and silver was discovered. The rush was on as miners worked their various digs: the Yellow Aster, the Lost Gunsight, Mizpah, Belmont, Mohawk, Florence, the Lost Breyfogle, Bullfrog, Bagdad, and the Glory Hole. Just as quickly ghost towns replaced booming towns as mines played out.

This exhaustively researched pictorial pieces together the final days of the Old West through visually rich and rare photographs that include the sweeping landscapes and intimate images of the land's nobodies and nabobs and their common, if elusive, hope of striking it rich. The early Mojave photographers were unsung and remain uncelebrated, yet they captured a series of extraordinary images of what was to become a grand, tumultuous, rowdy near-last act of the Old West.

About the Author

Documentary filmmaker and author Nicholas Clapp has studied and filmed the deserts of the world. With a master’s degree in cinema from the University of Southern California, his first professional break came when he produced and directed The Great Mojave Desert, a one-hour special for CBS and the National Geographic Society. Two more American desert documentaries followed, The Haunted West and The Animals Nobody Loved. Over the years he has worked for David L. Wolper, the Walt Disney Company, Columbia Pictures, and all three networks and PBS – always finding the knack for winding up in deserts, from Tierra del Fuego to the High Arctic of Ellesmere Island, which though a deep freeze, meets a desert’s climatological criteria. He roamed the Sahara and the Rub’ al-Khali, Arabia’s “Empty Quarter.” It was while there filming endangered oryx for the World Wildlife Fund, that he heard of Ubar, a lost city of the sands, which led to an expedition that discovered the ancient site, until then believed to be mythical. Writing a book about this discovery prompted a shift from filmmaking to archaeology.
He spent later years excavating at Petra in Jordan, months in Israel, Syria, Ethiopia and Yemen researching his second book on the myth and reality of the biblical Queen of Sheba. It was this same queen that led him to the Death Valley area to find out more about the Queen of Sheba Mine. That led to his last book, a look into one of the characters of the Last Frontier and his mysterious death, Who Killed Chester Pray?

Months of scouring libraries while he searched for information about Chester Pray led to the discovery of how many rare photographs actually existed about the Last Frontier of America. With the detailed eye of a cinematographer, Clapp has noted the most exacting details in each of the photographs selected for this book and a last look at life on this Last Frontier.


Gold and Silver in the Mojave: Images of a Last Frontier
By Nicholas Clapp

Nick Clapp has unveiled the remarkable visual imagery of the Mojave in this tribute to the photographers whose stark pictures perfectly captured both the hard lines of the desert and its people.
            William Deverell, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West

It’s all here – the glamour, the grit, the gold, and the grandeur of the desert landscape….all the ingredients for a breathtaking visual experience of the last great rush for riches in the Old West. A beautifully crafted volume, this book is a must buy.
            —Linda Greene Smith, National Park Service Historian and
Chief of Resources Management (ret.), Death Valley National Park

Breathes fresh air into the brawling communities of the old Mojave! The rare photographs, attractive layout, and sprightly text make this a book you’ll want to own and give to your friends.
            —Elizabeth Babcock, History Curator, Maturango Museum

A visually stunning array of photographs…puts a new spin on the history of the old west. A must have.
            Eva La Rue, Curator, Central Nevada Museum

Sometimes treasures are not discovered in the deep sands of the Mojave; instead they are found in back rooms of long lost cities and towns. Thankfully, Nicholas Clapp found a remarkable collection of memories from a time long ago and has presented them in a beautiful and stunning way. A GREAT read and a magnificent story. This book is surely a must have!
            —John Grasson, Editor/Publisher, Dezert Magazine

Breathes fresh air into the brawling communities of the old Mojave! The rare photographs, attractive layout, and sprightly text make this a nook you’ll want to own and give to your friends.
            —Elizabeth Babcock, History Curator, Maturango Museum

Fun history with great historic photographs.
            Robert Hilburn, President, Mojave River Valley Museum

It is a miracle of pictures, many new and rarely seen, and besides that it is a treasure of history. …It is truly a bonanza find that is a great collector’s must have item.
            Emmett Harder, Desert Explorers

You can buy the book with a Death Valley Recreation map or the book alone.


More books by Nicholas Clapp

Old Magic
Lives of the Desert Shamans

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