At the turn of the last century, Goldfield was a mining boomtown — prospectors were pulling millions of dollars worth of ore out of the ground each year, and with a population that ballooned to more than 30,000 by 1904, it was the largest town in the state of Nevada. It was a classic Old West success story: gun-slinging heroes like Wyatt Earp trod its wooden sidewalks, and in a society where the real measure of a town’s worth was its bar-and-whorehouse scene, Goldfield had the rest beat: Tex Rickard’s Northern Saloon had a bar so long it required 80 bartenders to run it. Of course, I wouldn’t be writing about Goldfield if everything had kept going like gangbusters. By 1920s, the gold mines had started to peter out, and in 1923 a moonshine still exploded and started a fire that took most of the town’s wooden buildings with it. Today about 400 people remain in Goldfield, a semi-ghost town set among the barren wastes of Nevada’s high desert, surrounded by ghost stories and empty buildings — many of which are impressive stone and brick structures that survived the 1923 fire.