This is an extra or replacement audio recording for the musical play Gold Dust or Bust.

(Your play purchase includes the audio recording, so there is no need to purchase another one unless you have misplaced the original or simply want an extra copy.)

CDs for student use are available at half-price, as long as 10 or more copies are purchased. See below to order.

You can learn more about the play by perusing the tabs below!

Item # Description Availability Qty Break Price Quantity
Extra/Replacement Audio Recordings
Downloadable Audio Files
- You will receive a ZIP file containing individual MP3s
Download 1 $12.00
Audio CD
In Stock 1 - 9


Whether you set your wagon on the Overland Trail, sail across Cape Horn, or wade across the swamps of Panama, get yourself to the mother lode, where tents turn into jeans, a dozen eggs cost ten dollars, and the mud's so deep the cows disappear.

Gold Dust or Bust is a great complement to your curriculum resources in elementary and middle school history. And, like all of our plays, this show can be used to improve reading, vocabulary, reading comprehension, performance and music skills, class camaraderie and teamwork, and numerous social skills (read about it!) -- all while enabling students to be part of a truly fun and creative experience they will never forget!

Publication Information

Author: Ron Fink (Composer) and John Heath (Book and Lyrics)
ISBN: 978-1-886588-11-0
© 1998 Bad Wolf Press, LLC

Song Samples

Full Song List

1. "Gold Dust or Bust" (opening)
2. "Our Little Secret"
3. "Gold Fever"
4. "The Overland Trail"
5. "We’re Argonauts"
6. "Just One Pan Away"
7. "We are the Children of Miners"
8. "We’re Merchants"
9. "The Winter-time Blues"
10. "Gold Dust or Bust"(ending)


Flexible casting from 11-40 students.
Use as many Overlanders, Argonauts, Merchants, etc. as desired; one student
can also play more than one role. Note that roles are not gender-specific: Sam
can easily be played by a girl, for example; see our comments on page 30 of
the Teacher's Guide .


This is the first one-third of the script:

Luzena Wilson
John Sutter
James Marshall
Gold Fever Singers
Pan Miners
Carnival Barker
Johnny the Announcer
City Miners
and a Chorus made up of all students who are not playing roles at the time.

(The CLASS enters from either side, or is already on stage in two groups. During several
short instrumental breaks in the song, the STUDENTS put together a giant map of California
on the back wall of the stage. The map has San Francisco and Sacramento labeled, as well
as the Gold Rush country outlined.)

Song 1

Sleepy northern California
In 1848
We've got ranchos and steers
Just a few pioneers
And tons of real estate.

Sleepy northern California
In 1848
There's no smog in the air
We've got grizzly bears
And we're not yet a state.

But grab your picks and shovels, friends
It's all gonna change real soon
Gold dust or bust
Gold dust or bust
Start singing a different tune.

Abandoned ships will fill the bay
They'll bob and float around
You can't keep the crews
When they hear the news that gold's been found.

Eggs will cost three dollars each
You'll live in just a shack
It's too much for some
But most who will come aren't going back.
So grab your picks and shovels, friends
It's all gonna change real soon
Gold dust or bust
Gold dust or bust
Start singing a different tune.
Gold dust or bust
Gold dust or bust
Gold dust or bust
Gold dust or bust.

(CLASS exits. LUZENA and BECKY step forward)

LUZENA (to audience): Hello. My name is Luzena Wilson. I was one of the first women to
come to California during the gold rush. This is my friend Becky, and we'll be your guides today.

BECKY: You're in luck. It's January 24th, 1848, and we're near Sacramento at a new saw
mill owned by John Sutter. Luzena, you know what happened here on this fateful day?

LUZENA: I sure do.

BECKY: It's the day I discovered gold and started the gold rush. I was fishing for trout and
accidentally hooked a gold nugget the size of a Land Rover. The rest is history.

LUZENA: Becky, let's not start that again. (to audience)
Becky tends to lie a little bit.

BECKY: I remember it like it was yesterday. That nugget was putting up a heck of a fight.
I was using ten pound line and a peanut butter sandwich for bait when...

LUZENA (interrupting): Becky! We're here to watch a man named James Marshal discover
gold on land owned by John Sutter. Here they are.

(THEY step aside as MARSHALL rushes on stage from one side, racing up to SUTTER
who enters from the other.)

MARSHALL: Captain Sutter, Captain Sutter, I found gold near your saw mill.

SUTTER: Are you sure?

MARSHALL: Absolutely! I had it tested. You've got gold on your land. Gold! Gold!

SUTTER: Quiet down, Marshall. We need to keep this just between me and you. (sings)

  Song 2 - Listen now!

It's our little secret
It's just between us
Our little secret
Let's not make a fuss.

Our little secret
We won't tell a soul
(THEY sing the last three words loudly)
Nobody needs to find out we found gold.

It's our little secret
We'll just tell our friends
Maybe a cousin
But that's where it ends.

Our little secret
We don't have a doubt
No way our secret can ever get out.

We found gold
We found gold
We found gold
But it's a secret.

It's our little secret
So don't talk too loud
If we are careful
We won't draw a crowd.

ENTIRE CLASS (as many as possible crowding on stage):

Our little secret
No one here will cheat
We all are masters of being discreet.

We found gold We found gold

We found gold We found gold

We found gold We found gold

But it's a secret
a secret
a secret
a secret...

It's our little secret
It's just between us
Our little secret
Let's not make a fuss.

Our little secret
We won't tell a soul
Nobody needs to find out we found gold.

(SUTTER and MARSHALL join class in exiting. LUZENA and BECKY enter)

LUZENA: Of course, the "secret" was soon out. In December of 1848, President
ames Polk announced to the entire nation that huge amounts of gold had been found
in northern California.

BECKY: President Polk was a great man. He invented television, and so a grateful
nation named their favorite card game, poker, in his honor.

LUZENA: Becky, stop it. None of that is true. However, the entire nation did catch
gold fever. From New England to New Orleans, people dreamed of getting rich in California.

(THEY exit, as GOLD FEVER SINGERS appear)

  Song 3 - Listen now!

Gold fever
All over the place
Gold fever
A terrible case
Oh gold fever
It's deep in my chest
Gold fever
We've gotta go West.

I dream of golden nuggets (Do-be-do-bah)
Gold dust in golden buckets (Do-be-do-bah)
This bug is so outrageous (Do-be-do-bah)
It's terribly contagious
Do-be-deh-do-bah, la la la la.

Gold fever
All over the place
Gold fever
A terrible case
Oh gold fever
It's deep in my chest
Gold fever
We've gotta go West.

(This concludes the first one-third of the script.)

Overall Customer Rating:
Customer Reviews: 1

Sacramento, CA


  • Easy to use music download
Great download

I downloaded the songs for my play and used them on my smartboard in class for rehearsals. It was a really easy way to practice and get the students very well prepared for the performance. We had our play Friday night and it went off without a hitch!

Additional Comments and Reviews:

"Gold Dust or Bust cemented the gold rush for my class - it's forever with them now! Next school year I'm moving to a 5/6 grade class and can't wait to do another Bad Wolf Press musical. In fact, I've already had several teachers and parents asking me where I got this play. It was fabulous - the kids were superb, the music was wonderful and the parents loved it. Many, many thanks for a great and easy production. Keep writing and composing!"

---Wendy Buchanan, Teacher, (3rd-4th grade), Vinewood School, Lodi, CA

"We loved the music---catchy tunes and lyrics with a cute, funny narrative. Students learned their history via the songs. Very enjoyable! The show brings the curriculum alive, encouraging cooperation as well as other life skills. It gives the students a real sense of pride."

---Sheree Stenberg, Teacher (4th grade), Waldo Rohnert School, Rohnert Park, CA

"The recorded music is outstanding---the students loved it. The plays are great for critical thinking. They build confidence, reading and language skills, and develop a community of learners working together. I want to order all the plays!"

---Paige Powell, Bathgate Elementary, Mission Viejo, CA

"The kids love it. There is a lot of content embedded in the songs. I wasn't going to do it this year, but one of my colleagues really wanted his kids to see it so he convinced me to do it."

---Vivian Chen, Teacher (4th grade) Multnomah Elementary, Los Angeles, CA

"My students learned state standards while singing, dancing, and having a marvelous time. The musical allows students to have a positive experience while learning facts, as well as making lasting memories with friends."

---Michelle Skidmore, Teacher (4th/5th grades) Ladera Ranch Elementary, Ladera Ranch, CA

"Gold Dust or Bust sticks to the curriculum extremely well. People go away with the songs stuck in their heads! The humor is the clincher. Makes me want to do your plays year after year! I think the play helps tremendously with the retention of information. The kids can connect the concepts (standards) easily with the songs, movements, dialogue, and of course, the rehearsals! It also was a great way to get the parents to come to our school (community involvement). Our principal was impressed that we had a full house on the day of the play, and we were only the 4th grade putting this on! Also, when we put this play on during the last days of the school year, testing is over, we are more relaxed, and the other classes get to come and see a play! These are few and far between, now that there are budget cuts. No one can afford the 'professionals'. What a self-esteem booster for the 4th graders putting on the play!"

---Leslie Macek, Teacher (4th grade), Spinelli Elementary, Antelope, CA

"Fun humor and super songs. This is a terrific first play (easy to stage)."

---Kathy Wilbur, Teacher (4th grade), Prairie Elementary, Sacramento, CA

"After the play we studied textbooks of the Gold Rush and were able to make connections to characters from the play versus characters of the 49'ers Day. It brought a deeper understanding of the hardships."

---Christina Carmelich, Teacher (4th grade), Cloverland Elementary, Oakdale, CA

"The play is filled with fun that's accessible."

---Nancy Rogers, Teacher (4th grade), Jordan Elementary, Whittier, CA

"Awesome play! My fourth graders loved doing this play and they learned so much more than they could from any social studies text. I even convinced the other two fourth grade teachers to do the play in their classrooms, too. Thank you!"

---Colleen Myers, Teacher (4th grade), Las Flores Elementary, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Common Core and Other National Standards

History/Social Studies

Language Arts

Fine Arts

  • National Music Standards 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8 for K-4th, Standard 1 for 5th-8th
  • National Theater Standards 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 for K-4th, Standards 2 and 6 for 5th-8th
  • National Dance Standards 1 and 2 for K-4th


King Midas
golden fleece
El Dorado
Mother Lode
peter out

Historical Terms
saw mill
James Polk
Overland Trail Sierras
mining camp
Native American California
hydraulic mining
Sam Clemens
Ernest Hemingway

Number of questions: 0

Frequently Asked Questions About Bad Wolf Products and Licensing

How does your pricing and licensing work?

A: In short: each teacher/director using the play should have a copy of it. That's it! Your purchase gives you the right to use the play with as many classes as you wish, to photocopy the script for your actors, and to put on as many performances as you wish. This one-time purchase gives you a lifetime license. See below for more information on site licenses (for 3+ teachers or whole schools).

Q: What comes in the package?

A: Every musical play comes with the script and a 12-page Teacher's Guide that provides lots of tips and advice for using the play from start to finish. It also includes the audio recording for the play, which has all the songs both WITH and WITHOUT vocals. Sheet music is NOT included with the basic package, but it is available for $12. Extra/replacement CDs are also available for $12.

Every non-musical play comes with the script and the 12-page Teacher's Guide.

Q: I'm just one teacher putting on a play. If I use the play with multiple classes, do I have to purchase multiple licenses?

A: No! Your purchase gives you a lifetime license to be used with as many actors and classes as you wish. If other teachers/directors wish to use the play as well, they will need to purchase their own licenses.

Q: Do I need to purchase scripts for students?

A: No! Your purchase includes permission to photocopy the script for your actors.

Q: What is a "site license"? How do I know if I need one?

A site license is the economical choice when a whole school or grade level wants to put on the same play. Instead of each teacher/director having to purchase a script, the school/site can purchase a site license. This comes with three copies of the play (or one digital download) and permission to make copies for any additional participating teachers, as well as all the actors. You do NOT need to purchase both a site license and individual copies of the play; just buy one or the other.

Q: I understand that I can get two or more scripts for $35 each. Do they have to be the same play?

Nope! The discount applies whether you are purchasing multiple copies of the same show or single copies of multiple shows.

Q: What is the difference between the printed and digital versions? Which one should I get?

There is no difference in terms of content. The printed version of a musical play comes with an audio CD in a plastic sleeve in the back of the book. The digital version comes with two downloadable files: the script (PDF format) and the songs (individual MP3 files compressed in ZIP format). The advantage of the digital version is that you will not pay shipping and you can start using it instantly. Please read the question following this one about the technical requirements for digital files.

Non-musical plays are available in the form of a printed book or a PDF file.

Q: What are the technical requirements for the digital version?

  1. You will need to have Adobe Reader (free) or another software application that can open PDF files.
  2. You will need to be able to open ZIP files. The vast majority of computers should be able to do this without difficulty. If you wish to download the music directly to your phone or tablet, you will need to download an app that will open ZIP files. Many free ones are available.
  3. You will need to have some kind of audio player (such as iTunes or Windows Media Player) that will play MP3 files.

Advanced technical knowledge is not required; but please note that we do not have the ability to offer technical support for issues related to digital files. If you are unsure, it is probably best to stick with the printed version.

Q: What is your return/exchange policy?

A: Bad Wolf proudly offers a 100% guarantee. You can always exchange a product for another or get a full refund. No time limits, no questions.

Q: Is it OK if I edit the script?

A: Yes! Consider the play to be a jumping-off point. You are always welcome to change or omit anything that doesn't work for your class, administration, or parents. You are welcome to rewrite lyrics, lines, or jokes -- or add your own! (The kids love doing this, by the way.)

Q: How long does shipping take?

A: We say that you should allow for one week within the U.S., but most orders are shipped the same day and arrive 1-3 days later. International orders usually take around two weeks to arrive.

Q: Do I need to pay any performance royalties?

A: As long as your admission price is less than $5 per ticket, you never need to pay performance royalties with a Bad Wolf show. If you decide to charge more than $5 a ticket, or if you are using one of our plays for a PAID workshop, camp, assembly, etc., pay only a low 1-2% royalty on gross revenues. See our royalty page to view the rates and pay.