John Sutter (1803-1880) was an early California settler who obtained a Mexican land grant for a huge ranch near modern-day Sacramento in 1841. The Gold Rush began in 1848 with the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, on Sutter's land in the Sierra foothills.
Surprisingly, Sutter's reaction to the discovery of gold on his land was one of disappointment. His dream was to build a successful agrarian community, not to become a wealthy mine-owner. The discovery of gold, and the frenzied population growth that followed it, made Sutter's dream impossible.