December 8, 1996 |
In this town of 4,400 in the middle of Mother Lode country, the Old West seems not so far away. To one side, a mountain road that was once a stagecoach trail brushes by alpine lakes. To the other side lie a valley and streams, the area immortalized by Mark Twain in "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." At the local Valliwide Bank branch, alongside the deposit slips lie the marked weights that once measured the prospectors' gold dust.