Roughing It is a semi-autobiographical travel book by Mark Twain. It was published in 1872 as a prequel to his first travel book The Innocents Abroad. This humorous book follows a young Samuel Clemens through the Wild West. He was accompanying his older brother, Orion Clemens, who had just been appointed as the Secretary of Nevada Territory. They rode a stage coach from the Missouri Frontier all the way to Carson City, Nevada. Interspersed throughout are factual and semi-factual journalistic reports as well as tall tales. It covers Twain’s unsuccessful efforts to stake a timber claim and to prospect for silver ; his reporting and freelance writing for the Territorial Enterprise of Virginia City, Nevada; his reporting for the San Francisco Morning Call; his trip to Hawaii; his work in San Francisco; and—much more briefly—his return to the East Coast through the isthmus of Panama.
The author examines the economic boom of the area and its effect on the people, and describes the numerous animals he encountered and observed along the way. The humorous tone of the novel is grounded in the mishaps, errors of judgments and various mistakes that are constantly preventing the author from attaining his goal – becoming rich with little effort on his part. This book has a rich mine of wonderful vocabulary and provides moving descriptive passages. These attributes insure that the novel is just as interesting today as it was at the time of its publication, over 130 years ago.