In the Cahuenga Pass, countless cars speed (or crawl, depending on traffic) over the 101 Freeway with no thought of the pioneers who traveled this route before Hollywood existed. It was the path traders used to bring goods into Hollywood, and just like the plots of the westerns later shot there, any good trade route was fraught with bandits.
There are other versions online of how gold came to be buried in the Cahuenga Pass (see this LA Times article). They name treasure as the jewels and gold of the Mexican Treasury sent to be traded for guns while Mexico was fighting for its independence from European nations seeking to claim what they could of the new world.
This version of the story is a little different, but the source is a 1922 publicity brochure printed by the Publicity Department of the Hollywood Brach Security Trust & Savings Bank, so I thought I'd share a different take from a Hollywood local of the 1920s. Here is the legend of the hidden gold of El Molino Viejo (The Old Mill, which still exists in San Marino and is the oldest commercial building in Southern California) circulated among the residents of Hollywood in the early part of the 20th century.
In the 1860s, an Indian referred to as "Salvador" is rumored to have hidden the gold to keep it safe from bandits. The gold was safely hidden, but Salvador was not as lucky. He was mortally wounded, although Chief Cahuenga and his braves came to fend off the attackers. Any and all attempts to find the treasure were labeled "cursed" and Salvador's ghost was believed to be eternally guarding the gold from anyone who would like to find it.
Whichever version you believe, people love a good treasure hunt. Several people tried to find the treasure and ultimately met an untimely end, supposedly because of the curse upon anyone who dared to go looking for it. The most recent (and ridiculous) is this:
In 1939, three men obtained a special permit to dig up portions of the Hollywood Bowl parking lot behind the stage, believing it to be the site of the buried treasure. CBS radio and three film crews covered the treasure hunt, which lasted 24 days. People even came to watch the excitement, although they quickly tired of watching a large hole being dug. Nothing was found, and one of the men committed suicide a month later. No more treasure-hunting permits were issued after that.