Those Wild and Lusty Gold Camps
Mark Twain observed that to write of the gold rush period and ignore its carnage would be like writing of Mormonism without referring to polygamy. A good example is the story of a mob in one California gold camp that hanged a man for horse stealing. It was found after the handing that the man was innocent. The vigilante mob sent a messenger to break the news to the victim's widow. We hanged him for stealing a horse, he told her, but come to find out, he didn't do it, so I guess the joke's on us. All gold camps weren't' so callous, but most of them were exciting.