GOLD: Comeback

Near Pikes Peak was a creek with banks so steep that cattlemen named it Cripple Creek. The place was poor for grazing, but some Colorado promoters in 1884 thought it looked like a fine spot for a quick killing. As the story goes, they dug a shaft and fired shotgun charges of gold dust into the sides, spread the word of their "strike," and cleaned up on the dupes who rushed in to buy claims.

The fortune hunters sadly departed when they learned that Cripple Creek had no geological formations indicating the presence of gold. Only Bob Womack, a cowhand,...

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