One fateful day in 1842, whilst napping beneath a bent oak tree, a cattle rancher had a dream featuring a river of pure gold in which the dreamer himself floated. He awoke, dug up some onions with his knife and—gasp!—there in the dirt-clumped roots was actual, real-life gold.
Or so the legend goes. But all legends have a nugget of truth.
As stated in the above articles, the man was Francisco Lopez, a mineralogist who had a bit more going for him in the gold-finding department than a coincidental dream and a pinch of luck. His discovery of gold was the first in the California region, and was just the tip of the gold frenzy iceberg that would come to be known as the California Gold Rush.