Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor
The Gila Trail: The Texas Argonauts and the California Gold Rush. By Benjamin Butler Harris. Edited by Richard H. Dillon. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1960. Maps. Illustrations. Bibliographical Note. Index. 175 Pages. $6.95 Paper.
The University of Oklahoma Press has issued a new printing of Benjamin Harris’ narrative of his 1849 trip to the California Gold fields from Texas via the southern, or “Gila” route. The narrative is a lively and full one, and the volume is made more useful by a lengthy introduction by Richard H. Dillon of the Sutro Branch of the California State Library. The account is important because the southern route to the gold fields was less popular than the northern one, so there are fewer accounts of it than of the main Platte-Humboldt route. The Gila Trail is of interest to the San Diego area because the expedition crossed the Colorado at Yuma, followed the usual trail across the desert to Carrizo Springs, the Vallecito camp (which later became a Butterfield stage station), up the mountains to the San Felipe Valley, Warner’s Ranch, Hall’s Oak Grove, and on to Temucla and points north. The brief descriptions of the passage through this region are consistent with others of the period.