The journey starts with Twain’s brother being appointed Secretary of Nevada, which ultimately takes all of us on an adventurous expedition from east to west, beginning on a stage coach, ending on a train - the Transcontinental Railroad (completed in 1867) was in the process of being built during this discourse. The antics proposed to embark on this journey were nothing short of spectacular, particularly for writers desiring to imbue their audience with a sense of reality healthily dosed by a comedy of errors. One can’t help but laugh out loud at some of the tomfoolery taking place in this narrative.
Cowboys and Indians, stagecoach mishaps and robberies, bad guys overshadowed by some truly difficult times in American history are all present and completely detailed by this magnanimous account of a couple of city boys roaming across the country for their livelihoods. Perhaps the history is the most important of all, as Roughing It specifically takes into account so many things readers might otherwise forget, and almost certainly never read in their history books.
Mark Twain brings the wild, wild west to life in a way far beyond imagination. They say the truth is stranger than fiction, and if Roughing It is any indication, there isn’t any doubt to be had about it. “Published in 1872, MT’s second major work is about going west to dig for wealth in the rocks of Nevada and ultimately finding it instead as a writer and entertainer. It was written between 1870 and the end of 1871, and based on experiences MT had had (mostly as Samuel Clemens, of course) between 1861 and 1866,” states the Twain Library of Virginia (edu).