Gold Is Where You Find It

Gold is Where You Find It is a 1938 American romantic drama film that gives a fictionalized account of a true event— an ecological disaster whose effects are still felt in California today. Directed by Michael Curtiz and starring George Brent, Olivia de Havilland, and Claude Rains, with a screenplay by Warren Duff and Robert Buckner based on a story by Clements Ripley, the film is set 30 years after the first California Gold Rush, when hydraulic mining sends floods of muddy sludge into the Sacramento Valley, destroying crops and homes, ruining land and water sources and killing people caught in their path. The film highlights the conflict between the mining companies and the wheat farmers by adding a romance between a mining engineer (George Brent) and the daughter (Olivia de Havilland) of a prominent farmer (Claude Rains). She is herself dedicated to the idea that fruit can be raised the valley. This Technicolor feature film was released on February 12, 1938 by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Gold Is Where You Find It
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Curtiz
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story byClements Ripley
Music byMax Steiner
CinematographySol Polito
Edited byClarence Kolster
Owen Marks (uncredited)
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • February 12, 1938 (1938-02-12) (USA)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States

Plot summary

A new gold strike in California ten years after the American Civil War triggers a bitter feud between farmers and miners using hydraulic mining methods that devastate the wheat farms of the San Fernando Valley.

The film ends with Jared and Serena looking out over the valley while Jared speaks eloquently of the possible future. A vivid montage shows all the different trees bearing fruit there in the 1930s, ending with the orange groves. Serena's vision, once dismissed as impossible, has been realized.



While stationed in South Carolina in 1919, Clements Ripley met and married Katherine (Kattie) Ball, the daughter of noted journalist W. W. Ball. They lived in North Carolina and grew peaches until 1927, when they moved to Charleston, South Carolina to become writers.

The real landmark lawsuit was Woodruff v. North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Company, brought in 1882 and settled in 1884.

This was the second Warner Bros. movie to be shot in the new three-strip Technicolor process.[2]

According to TCM's Brian Cady, “director Michael Curtiz's felicity with the Technicolor camera led Warner Brothers to put him in the director's chair in place of William Keighley for their next Technicolor extravaganza, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). “[3]

The film was shot near Weaverville, California[4] and was plagued by torrential rains.[2]


  1. American Film Institute Catalog
  3. "Gold Is Where You Find It (1938) - Articles -". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  4. Hollywood Holds A World Premier In Mining Town The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file) [Boston, Mass] 05 Feb 1938: 3.
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