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American Experience - The Gold Rush
American Experience - The Gold Rush
Actors: Michael Murphy, Isabel Allende
Director: Randall MacLowry
Genres: Television, Documentary
NR     2006     2hr 0min

At the end of 1853, San Francisco was a city on the fast track. A few years earlier, the seaside town had been a sleepy village of just 800 people. But the sight of gold in the waters of the American River set the stage fo...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Michael Murphy, Isabel Allende
Director: Randall MacLowry
Genres: Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Documentary
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 11/21/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

And now... the agenda free review
Poseur | CA, USA | 01/04/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I was excited at first since most American Experience documentaries are very informative. This one fell short of my expectations as there was really nothing new regarding the Gold Rush. The producers did a good job keeping a fairly even keel historically and conjecture to a minimum. Included are many excellent historians and some that are controversial at best, but they were kept within the realm of historical facts, notwithstanding several instances of extreme bias which is shameful coming from those with the marquee "historian." Few other than J. S. Holliday for example, had anything to say of a deep understanding of the rush, and others were simply regurgitating what Holliday had been saying for thirty years (they must have been fans). This documentary is best suited to children, say, in the 12-16 year range. A couple of errors were made as well unless I'm mistaken. The 230 ounces of gold taken to Washington, D. C. by Lieutenant Loeser was carried in a tea caddy, not an "oyster tin" as stated. I could not find the "oyster tin" fact anywhere, and it is the first time I have heard it. Also, Alfred Doten never owned a store in California as promoted in the documentary; but he did "tend" a store for a Mr. Perry when he was away buying goods. I also think they were a little harsh on Doten, especially on the PBS site in regard to their "bio" of him. His diaries were never intended to be published, and I think simple respect should be exercised when judging someone through 21st century eyes. He certainly liked women, and the reason he was with "women of color" is because that's chiefly all who were there at first, but that's never brought out in the documentary except as an innuendo to make him seem deviant. In actuality he was no different than any other nationality that populated California regarding women; he just wrote about his actions and is an easy target as a result. There was also a failure to mention that many Chinese were basically conscripted in California to work for higher-ranking Chinese "bosses." Many of the Chinese were not at liberty to do as they wished--one could not make that connection from the video. Finally, yes it may be true that many miners did not want to return home because of failure, or simply wanted to stay because of a more open society, but when spring begins in California in February--when "back east" gray encompasses the sky, crusty snow is on the ground, and nothing will be green for another two months, I'd stay in California too!"
The truth is never easy to accept.
Louis L. Estrada | Alta loma, CA USA | 04/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After viewing this documentary about the west, one has to wonder: are all white americans evil? No! But one has to be honest enough to acknowledge the fact that prejudice toward any human being who was not white existed and flourished by the DOMINANT WHITE CLASS. This is a sad but true statement, after buying and viewing this DVD...and... Ken Burns DVD: the West, and The Way West DVD by Ric Burns. All three DVDs have the common thread of inhumane treatment to non white people by the Anglo American. This is fact!
If you do not want to find the truth, don't buy it...or for that matter,any of the other DVDs I've mentioned. However, such facts leads us to understanding ourselves to then ask what do we need to do to improve.
I highly reccommend this DVD to see what the WEST was like living during those times for it makes us understand that life has never been easy but easier through education by being HONEST to view this DVD.