gold miners moved west because in San Francisco in 1848 word traveled that many people had started finding gold while they were mining.
most of the people moved west to California.
The journey was long but it was made shorter by the railroad tracks that were being laid. They weren't entirely finished, so although it was kind of a shorter trip, it was still harsh because of the weather. Just like in the Trail of Tears, diseases and water contamination killed people who were working. People from overseas were put to work destroying mountains, and not everyone found gold because it is so rare and hard to find. Since everyone was trying to find gold, it would have been hard because of all the competition.