Gold in California the mighty lust for yellow gold Drave all reason from men's souls They left their homes and headed West
(Old California you're the land for me I'm off for Sacramento with my gold pan on my knee I am bound for the promised land) Left St Joseph the first of May Travelled about twelve miles this day Fifty-two wagons hundred and forty souls Bound for Californy to search for gold Folks finished their evening camp chores They pulled the tailgates together for dancin' floor
Blew up a storm just fore dawn Searched for the teams they's eight head gone Finally got rollin' lost half a day's time Had to leave two of our wagons behind Miss Martin's baby died today We stopped and dug a shallow grave Some Indians watched from a little knoll They hit us fore we could cover the hole No time to circle lost seven men Counted for only three redskins We'll try to reach the river fore day is done Dug eight graves instead of one
Crossed the Platte River high and wide Doubled the teams put logs alongside Supplies got soaked flour beans Had a safe crossin' drowned one team Some of the folks are sick though they don't complain We sent out a party to hunt far game Saw some smoke signals in the hills to the right Have to double the guard tonight
Oh Lord today the Cheyenne dealt us a blow They drove a herd of buffalo through our wagon camp
The scout stepped from his lathered horse a shoutin' all around And as he spoke these fateful words we heard the rumblin' sound
Buffallo up comin' three thousand head running this way Thunder on the prairie the tremble (the tremble) this day
We pulled the wagons close together and made the circle tight And tried to bring the leaders down as they tipped the rise We dropped the big ones in their tracks but on and on they came Till a path of destruction and death was on the plain
Buffallo up comin'...
And as the great herd trailed away we heard the anguished cries The Cheyenne braves who drove the herd were watching from the rise They surveyed the damage done then turned and rode away And these words I won't forget until my dying day
Buffallo up comin'...
We've reached the desert parchet and burned Past the paint of no return Horses are droppin' in their tracks Folks carryin' their belongin's on their backs Children are cryin' for water and there's not a sip There's twenty-eight dead so far on this trip
Today we reached a desert spring And had a weddin' blacksmith made the ring Folks dancin' singin' just like they was glad They got more guts than I ever thought they had
They've been in these mountains for more'n a week With no trails up these jagged peaks We bring the wagons up with a windlass lift The snow's fallin' early we have to shovel drifts The animals are weak and we can't move fast We're on the east slope leadin' up to the pass And when a wagon breaks down in this hell awful storm We burn it like a bonfire and try to get warm Night comes upon us and we don't dare stop We keep lashin' the teams but we've gotta reach the top
We left seven new graves back there on the slope But today we reached the summit and now there's hope Well there's California stretched out below And all of that gold on the Sacramento