San Francisco is certainly a quirky place and Cecelia Holland's Vigilante Wars sheds a lot of light on how we got there! The inner-workings and many of the social mores that today are common-place were founded in some crazy times.
Holland recounts the lawlessness, mob rule and colorful characters that the 1849 Gold Rush brought to San Francisco. Tales of gangs like "the Hounds" wandering the streets, the massive in-flux of wealth seekers and the poverty that followed. You can easily see how today's San Francisco evolved.