We introduce the technique of time-resolved optical gating (TROG) based on dispersive propagation (DP), a new noninterferometric method for characterizing ultrashort optical pulses in amplitude and phase without the need for a short optical gating pulse. TROG is similar to frequency-resolved optical gating except that the role of time and frequency is interchanged. For the DP-TROG geometry, we show that measurements of the autocorrelation trace of the pulse after propagation through a medium with variable dispersion together with a single measurement of its intensity spectrum contain sufficient information to reconstruct the pulse in amplitude and phase. Pulse reconstruction for this DP-TROG geometry works very well even for the case of a nonlinearly chirped double pulse. Compared with other methods, DP-TROG does not introduce an ambiguity in the direction of time for the pulse. Due to its simplicity and improved sensitivity. DP-TROC is expected to be useful in characterizing low-energy pulses.