Lighting Out for the Territory: How Samuel Clemens Headed West and Became Mark Twain

The story of how Samuel Clemens went west in 1861, reinvented himself as a writer, and returned 6 years later as Mark Twain.

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In 1861, Samuel Clemens set out from St. Joseph, Missouri, and embarked on an epic stagecoach journey West to Hawaii (well, mostly by stagecoach). It was a watershed odyssey that transformed an itinerant printer, Mississippi riverboat pilot, and Confederate guerrilla into a journalist, author, and stage performer. By the time it was over, "Mark Twain" was born.

We talk with historian and author Roy Morris, Jr., who has taken a new look at Twain's travels, considers his own account and matches it with what else we know from a time that gave birth not only to great early works like The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, but also to the new identity of a true American original.

Aditional Information:

Roy Morris Jr., is the editor of Military Heritage magazine and the author of four books on the Civil War and post-Civil War eras, including Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876, The Better Angel: Walt Whitman in the Civil War, and Ambrose Bierce: Alone in Bad Company.