In 1861, Samuel Clemens was still years away from becoming the famous author known as Mark Twain. He'd been working as a steamboat pilot, but lost his job when the Civil War broke out and traffic stopped going up and down the Mississippi River. So when his older brother Orion was appointed secretary to the territorial governor of Nevada, Sam Clemens jumped at the chance to take a trip out West.
Roughing It - which covers the years 1861-1866 - tells the story of their journey by stage from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Virginia City, Nevada, and Clemens' subsequent trip to San Francisco. where he'll settle down, at least for a time. It's there he'll begin his career as a journalist and adopt his pen name.
Clemens tells all kinds of funny stories about the people he meets (sometimes their dialect is hard to understand) and the sights he sees. He devotes paragraph after paragraph to sagebrush, prairie-dogs, and "cayotes" and many pages to Indians, and outlaws.
This report prepared by Ann Gaines