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In Gold Rush!, Jerrod Wilson (the player character) receives a letter from his long-lost brother (who fled the city years before when was hastily accused and convicted of a crime he didn't commit) asking him to join in Sacramento, California. If that's not enough for Jerrod sell everything and give his hometown Brooklyn a fond adieu, under the stamp was one of the first nuggets of Californian gold seen in the Atlantic shores of the United States. So, Jerrod bids farewell to his peaceful life as a newspaper editor, and becomes a fore-runner in the the great Gold Rush of 1849, hoping to find his brother and "strike gold" (literally).

Released late into the lifespan of Sierra's AGI engine, Gold Rush! features some tricks not seen before the more advanced SCI engine, such as enlarged characters, but it is best known for the three routes available to reach California: by land, travel by boat to reach the Atlantic shore of Panama, cross the isthmus, and then get a second boat in the Pacific shore, or making the dangerous all-boat trip by Cape Horn. Each route has its dangers: Cholera might strike as you make your way across the Northern states or your boat might sink. As usual with Sierra adventures, instant killing happens if the player is careless, but will also happen at random. Other important (and innovative) concept is the game being timed. If Jerrod takes too long to leave Brooklyn, passages to California increase in price, and his house devalues.


Gold Rush! Atari ST A coral in Sutter's Fort.
Gold Rush! Atari ST Traveling the world.
Gold Rush! Apple II City park.
Gold Rush! Atari ST A great American hero...

Promo Images

Gold Rush! Screenshot
Gold Rush! Screenshot
Gold Rush! Screenshot
Gold Rush! Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "Gold Rush! Classic" -- Steam release

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Would you be able to abandon your everyday life? DOS Nowhere Girl (8103)
From New York to California -- Getting there is half the fun! DOS Katakis | カタキス (42137)
Entertaining AND a historically accurate learning experience! DOS OlSkool_Gamer (102)
This is my alltime favourite Sierra AGI game DOS Mats Rade (30)

Critic Reviews

Adventure Gamers DOS May 12, 2005 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Joystick (German) DOS May, 1989 7.5 out of 10 75
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) DOS Mar, 1989 8.6 out of 12 72
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Atari ST May, 1989 8.4 out of 12 70
Zzap! Amiga Jul, 1989 68 out of 100 68
Power Play DOS Mar, 1989 68 out of 100 68
Commodore User Amiga Jul, 1989 68 out of 100 68
Amiga Computing Amiga Sep, 1989 61 out of 100 61
Amiga Format Amiga Oct, 1989 38 out of 100 38
Computer Gaming World (CGW) DOS Apr, 1989 Unscored Unscored


Topic # Posts Last Post
Running the game in Dosbox 20 Nowhere Girl (8103)
Jul 26, 2012


Alternative Routes

Gold Rush! has an - for an adventure game - unusual replay value, as there are three different routes you can take to get to California. Each one of them offers its own puzzles and scenes.

Copy Protection

The game uses text from the manual to prevent software piracy. If the wrong word is entered, the player will be arrested and hanged on grounds of claim jumping.


The designers re-released the game in 1998 as California Gold Rush!.


Although not the last Sierra adventure to use the AGI engine, Gold Rush! certainly tried pushing the old EGA technology to the limit. Certain scenes involve a much larger character walking around, something used much more convincingly in later SCI titles such as King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella.

Information also contributed by game nostalgia, nicholas mccolm and Ricky Derocher.

Related Web Sites

  • Crapshoot (A humorous text on PC Gamer which talks about weird aspects of some games; including this one.)
  • ScummVM (supports the DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, Apple IIgs versions of Gold Rush under Windows, Linux, Macintosh and other platforms.)
  • Sunlight Games (The independent game developer Sunlight Games re-released Gold Rush! News and media.)
Contributed to by POMAH (63864), Kabushi (257410), MajorDad (535), Martin Smith (76065), Terok Nor (31132) and LepricahnsGold (142509)