Gold was discovered in California early in 1848, but news of Marshall's find did not reach the States in time to start a rush across the plains that year. Immigrant trains were on the road in slightly larger numbers than in 1847, but none, so far as can be learned, used the Hastings Cutoff. Samuel J. Hensley [p.9] attempted the route but turned back.5
The only traverse of the cutoff that year was by another party of horsemen, briefly mentioned by James S. Brown.6 According to this writer a small group of Mormon Battalion soldiers returning from California in October crossed the "western desert" and were met by a rescue expedition "at the point of the West mountain" (Oquirrh Mountains). He did not detail their experiences. ???????