The plot is set in 1849, at a run down western town called Goldville. We're introduced to Kitty the Cat, who finds out her boyfriend, Beans, has gone out prospecting for gold and becomes ecstatic and confident he'll find it. Meanwhile, Beans has literally dug through an entire mountain, and with the pull of a convenient slot machine lever, a pile of gold falls out. Beans runs back to town to tell everyone about the gold he's found, prompting many of the townsfolk to follow him out there, including a (curiously oversized) Porky Pig. They head out to the mountains and try to find more gold, but trouble arrives as a bandit comes along and steals Porky's bag...
"Gold Diggers of '49" provides examples of:
- Anachronism Stew: Even though the cartoon is set in 1849, Porky owns a gasoline powered car, something that wasn't invented until 36 years later. Also, the newspaper Kitty reads mentions Warner Bros., which wasn't founded until 1918.
- Annual Title: The year 1849 is mentioned in the title.
- Artistic License – Physics: A fire is lit under water.
- Big Eater: Porky is portrayed as an extremely overweight adult in this cartoon, and in both the beginning and ending, he wolfs down a very large sandwich.
- Bowdlerization: When this cartoon aired on Nickelodeon, the following scenes were cut:
- All the scenes with the Chinese laundrymen joining the rush to mine for gold (including a scene where they become blackfaced and do an impression of Amos 'n Andy after getting blasted with car exhaust).
- The scene of the bad guy getting Shot in the Ass, only to reveal he has a washtub covering his butt.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: This cartoon is nowhere as wild as Tex's later cartoons, although some of his early hallmarks pop up here and there. Porky is portrayed as a deep-voiced adult (and voiced by Joe Doughertynote rather than Mel Blanc) and as a sidekick to Beans, and Kitty the Cat is his daughter.
- Forty-Niner: The cartoon is set in 1849 and features gold diggers.
- Genki Girl: Kitty the Cat, Beans' girlfriend, is absolutely euphoric at the idea of Beans finding gold.
- Motion Blur: Beans' car becomes this once he dumps alcohol as fuel into it.
- Musicalis Interruptus: A barbershop quartet is singing "Sweet Adeline" when Beans announces that he's discovered gold, and they run off midverse. Subverted when they return to finish the song before running off again.
- National Stereotypes: The cartoon features two Chinese men travelling by riksha. When Porky's car passes by the smoke changes these two Chinese people's skin color into those of two Afro-American men, who proceed to reference lines of characters from "Amos N Andy", which was a very popular radio show of the day.
- Shout-Out/Pun-Based Title: The plot is based on the California Gold Rush, and the title is a play off the Busby Berkeley musicals Gold Diggers of 1933 and Gold Diggers of 1935.
- Specific Situation Books: Beans finds an old book on how to find gold. The book has only one phrase inside: "Dig for it!"
- Super-Speed: Beans uses a bottle of alcohol in his car to give it enough speed to catch the bandit and grab Porky's bag (and drag Porky himself back to town along the way).
- Twist Ending: Beans gets Porky's bag back in exchange for Kitty's hand in marriage, believing it was a bag of gold Porky had. Porky then reveals that it wasn't a bag of gold, but his lunch.