In 1869, Major John Wesley Powell, his cartographer, J.C. Clark, and eight others set out to map the Green and Colorado Rivers located in the Utah and Arizona territories. The Government assigned Federal Gold to barter for their protection during the expedition.
While in Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River, over half of the men, boats, and supplies were lost in the dangerous rapids. Three others abandoned the expedition never to be seen again. Major Powell and J.C. Clark were the only ones to survive. Clark buries the government gold and forges a map of it's location. He and Major Powell escape the canyon only to have Clark learn of the death of his beloved wife. He immediately sends for his two daughters back east and settles in the southern Arizona territory.