Those participating in the gold rush during 1849, known as 49ers, were willing to pay up to $100 for a glass of water. This was due to a combination of some 49ers being unprepared for the dry heat of Nevada's deserts and California businessmen taking advantage of the situation.
Californian businessmen shipped water in barrels to the Nevada deserts, and they charged many different prices to the 49ers. While some paid $1 or $5, others were willing to pay the sum of $100 to get a drink. Other staples that were sold for exorbitant prices during the rush included liquor, coffee and sugar.