As a contribution to a literary portrait of Nevada that can provide background for Roughing It, this article examines two newspaper correspondents who were contemporaries of Sam Clemens to discern similarities and differences in their travel writings: William Wright, who also worked for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise; and J. Ross Browne, who traveled to Virginia City to report on the beginning of the Comstock silver strike for Harper’s Monthly. Both writers evince the vividness, intimacy, and accurate detail Mark Twain said defined a good correspondent. Though both writers employ comic elements, Browne comes closer to the Mark Twain persona in his willingness to burlesque and satirize.

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