Most of the miners in this rugged settlement took special care to dress for their portrait, appearing in their best white shirts and black jackets. Only the gentleman seated atop the trolley on the left looks as if he has just emerged from the mineshaft. The California Gold Rush peaked in 1852, yet pioneers like those pictured here continued to toil in the mines over twenty years later. While three young children appear in the picture, the women of the town are conspicuously absent. In this depiction of scattered homes carved into a barren mountainside, Carleton Watkins conveyed the isolation of the prospecting and pioneering western frontier.


  • Title: The Bullion Mine, Virginia City, Nevada
  • Creator: Carleton Watkins
  • Date Created: 1875–1877
  • Location Created: Virginia City, Storey, Nevada, United States
  • Physical Dimensions: 38.3 × 54 cm (15 1/16 × 21 1/4 in.)
  • Type: Print
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Albumen silver print
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 97.XM.27
  • Culture: American
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Carleton Watkins (American, 1829 - 1916)
  • Classification: Photographs (Visual Works)

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