Sixteen-year old Joe Gordon is sent west by a newly formed mining company founded by his father to stake a claim in gold-rush California, and- incidentally- to keep an eye on the other representative, an uncle he idolizes. When his uncle gambles away the company funds, and in other ways shows the cynicism he has acquired in the Mexican wars, Joe faces disillusionment and breaks with his uncle to carry on alone in the brutal atmosphere of a mining camp. He finds himself absorbed in problems of strained race relations over mine claims. When the Mexicans are driven out by the whites, he- and a handful of others- throw in their lot with the minority group. They work out a common good, together. Interesting material, well-handled details, graphic descriptions, and a gripping yarn from a novel slant. Jr. High and up.