* Eben's brothers Simeon and Peter return from their field work, their conversation revealing that Eben is Simeon and Peter's half-brother by their father Ephraim's second wife.
* Simeon and Peter compare the gold they hear of out in California with the stones they dig every day, and muse about whether Ephraim, gone without notice for two months, is dead or crazy.
* Eben, Peter and Simeon argue over which of them should inherit the farm, then Eben rushes out to visit a woman named Minnie.
* The following morning, Eben returns with news that Ephraim has returned and has married again - this time, a young woman about half his age.
* Simeon and Peter comment that she'll inherit everything of Ephraim's now, and they might as well go to California to dig gold.
* Eben offers to give them cash from Ephraim's secret stash if they sign...
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