In Gold Rush!, Jerrod Wilson (the player) 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 it's 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.