The two main characters of First Cow discuss, somewhere in the 1820s, leaving for San Francisco as if it is the land of opportunity.


  1. San Francisco did not even have a large population prior to the gold rush of 1849

  2. It was still owned by Mexico as it would be until about that same time -- could they have just walked in?

  3. I don't even think much of any place at all in CA was considered a "land of opportunity" then

  4. Not easy to get to San Francisco, maybe they were planning to go by ship but again, while in Oregon they were among trappers making good money from furs (which was for a while an incredible business) I don't even know the industry that existed in San Francisco in those days

So does the movie or the book explain this or is it simply a major anachronism, confusing San Francisco of the early 1820s with the amazing place it would become 30 years later?

  • Actually Mexico and California still belonged to Spain in 1820. Dec 12, 2020 at 18:18
  • @M.A.Golding: good point but did we not call it the mexican-american war? and would you agree that in 1820 or so it would not have occurred to people to travel to san franciso and that this is a major anachronism?
    – releseabe
    Dec 12, 2020 at 18:29


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