The view was overwhelming to men who had forged their way through the mountains for three weeks, fighting starvation and battling against mutiny within their ranks. Now they were in a forest of astonishing proportions in a land of amazing beauty. Giant redwood trees towered around them. Joseph Reddeford Walker had led his men through the dangers of snow in the mountains, thirst on the deserts, and threats from Indians to a new land Americans had seldom seen. The new land was California.