Read an Excerpt
Somewhere on or very near Sheep Mountain in the western part of the state of Colorado is a long-lost gold mine, one that yielded an impressive quantity of gold sometime prior to the Civil War, and one that has long since been lost. Based on what is known about this mine, whomever happens to eventually locate it would likely become one of the wealthiest persons in North America.
The beginnings of this story are rooted in the person of Dora Tucker Cyre, a young woman who moved to Central City, Colorado, from her child home in Independence, Missouri, sometime during the 1850's. Tucker was twenty-two years old and newly married to a printer named George Cyre who had taken a job with the Central City newspaper.
Dora resisted the move, not wanting to leave the relative security of family and friends in Independence, the only home she had known. On arriving in Central City, located about twenty miles west of Denver, she was at first quite intimidated by the tall mountains and rugged landscapes. Furthermore, she remained nervous about the proximity to what she perceived to be threatening wildlife such as grizzly bears, wolves, and mountain lions. Stories of hostile Indians living within just a few miles of Central City did little to relieve the tension she felt about her new residence.
After one year in Central City, George Cyre took a new job at a newspaper in golden, some ten miles closer to Denver. George and Dora were busy getting settled into their new environs when tragedy struck. One evening after work, George became involved in an argument at a Golden tavern and was stabbed to death. Dora, married for slightly more than a year, now found herself a widow.
George did not leave Dora much in the way of money or possessions, and it took her only a few days to realize she was nearly destitute. Her first inclination was to return to her family in Missouri, but she didn't even have enough money to purchase a train ticket. Her pride kept her from wiring her family to request funds, a decision she would soon regret. Desperate and fearful, Dora remarried within a month a miner named Clem Tucker. Tucker, a prospector and loner who was generally avoided by most of Golden's residents, made a living of sorts by panning some gold from the area streams. He proposed to Dora one afternoon when he was drunk and was quite surprised when she accepted.
Tucker has been described as somewhat coarse in manner and language, uneducated, and unkempt. Some have suggested that Tucker sensed Dora's vulnerability and took advantage of it. Whatever the case, it was not long before Dora realized she had made a terrible mistake.
Two days after their wedding, Tucker packed their few belongings onto his two mules and together the newlyweds walked the 200 miles to Sheep Mountain where he had been prospecting for gold. Dora was miserable during the entire journey, enduring blisters, fatigue, sunburn, and cold weather. When she had difficulty keeping up with the experienced Tucker, he cursed and whipped her. At night when they made camp, the exhausted Dora was forced to make the campfire and prepare the evening meal while Tucker rested and smoked his pipe.
When they finally arrived at Sheep Mountain, Tucker made Dora maintain the crude camp at which they resided, their home being merely a ripped and ragged canvas tent pitched on a rocky and uneven surface. Eventually, Tucker forced her to wield a pick and shovel to aid him in his search for gold. When Dora complained of the heavy work, or when she simply collapsed from sheer exhaustion, Tucker beat her repeatedly, oftentimes leaving her unconscious. Finally summoning the courage to address him, Dora told Tucker she was not satisfied with the marriage and wished to return to Golden. Tucker informed her that she was obligated to him and that if she ever tried to leave he would kill her.