Oregon, 1851. Hermann Kermit Warm, a chemist and aspiring gold prospector, keeps a profitable secret that the Commodore wants to know, so he sends the Sisters brothers, two notorious assassins, to capture him on his way to California.
Fred C. Dobbs and Bob Curtin, both down on their luck in Tampico, Mexico in 1925, meet up with a grizzled prospector named Howard and decide to join with him in search of gold in the wilds of central Mexico. Through enormous difficulties, they eventually succeed in finding gold, but bandits, the elements, and most especially greed threaten to turn their success into disaster.
Sam and George strike gold in Alaska. George sends Sam to Seattle to bring George's fiancé back to Alaska. Sam finds she is already married, and returns instead with Angel. Sam, after trying to get George and Angel together, finally romances Angel, who, in the meantime, is busy fighting off the advances of George's younger brother, Billy.
In 1896, Jeff Webster sees the start of the Klondike gold rush as a golden opportunity to make a fortune in beef...and woe betide anyone standing in his way! He drives a cattle herd from Wyoming to Seattle, by ship to Skagway, and (after a delay caused by larcenous town boss Gannon) through the mountains to Dawson. There, he and his partner Ben Tatum get into the gold business themselves. Two lovely women fall for misanthropic Jeff, but he believes in every-man-for-himself, turning his back on growing lawlessness...until it finally strikes home.
A few decades after the destruction of the Inca empire, a Spanish expedition leaves the mountains of Peru and goes down the Amazon river in search of gold and wealth. Soon, they come across great difficulties and Don Aguirre, a ruthless man who cares only about riches, becomes their leader. But will his quest lead them to "the golden city", or to certain destruction?
On a steamboat heading North, where his brother has struck gold, Mike Dane falls in love with Estelle MacDonald. When he arrives at the Canadian trading post, Dane learns that his brother has been murdered and his partner sentenced to death as the killer.
A lone prospector ventures into Alaska looking for gold. He gets mixed up with some burly characters and falls in love with the beautiful Georgia. He tries to win her heart with his singular charm.
In the latter half of the 19th century, gold is discovered in the Black Hills, an area which has already been allocated to the Dakota Indians as a winter reservation in a treaty. Nevertheless, gold diggers, profiteers and adventurers flock to the region. Among them is the hard-hearted land speculator Bludgeon, who tries to expel the Indians using brutal methods like slaughtering entire herds of buffalo. The Dakotas take their revenge by attacking a Union Pacific train. While Chief Farsighted Falcon and his men are out hunting, Bludgeon and his gang massacre the Indian village. The Dakota warriors retaliate and soon the gold diggers' town becomes the scene of a giant battle.