March 1854 - April 1857: Sam Clemens is back in Hannibal and Keokuk.
In 1906 Clemens described this return trip: “I went back to the Mississippi Valley, sitting upright in the smoking-car two or three days and nights. When I reached St. Louis I was exhausted. I went to bed on board a steamboat that was bound for Muscatine. I fell asleep at once, with my clothes on, and didnt’ wake again for thirty-six hours” .
Some time in St. Louis in 1854, Scharnhorst pg 86 writes: "In St. Louis during these months, Sam made an initial effort to become a riverboat pilot." ... "Sam approached the crews of a few boats "that lay packed together like sardines at the long St. Louis wharf" but "got only a cold shoulder and short words from mates and clerks."
It is assumed that Sam traveled all the way to St. Louis by train, but he does not explicitly state this. In fact, it would have been impossible for him to have done so. There were no trains arriving at St. Louis or East St. Louis in the Spring of 1854. It is my current opinion that Sam took the train to Cincinnati, likely the New York and Erie to Dunkirk, the lines that would become the Lake Shore Railroad to Cleveland, then the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati to Cincinnati. From thence a steamboat down the Ohio River to Cairo then on the Mississippi River to St. Louis.