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Despite the heavy burden of work that faced him, it is nevertheless clear that Mark Twain had determined, even before his arrival, to lecture in California and Nevada, covering, in general, the same itinerary as his 1866 tour.  He needed money, and he knew that no other activity promised so lucrative and quick a financial return as the platform.  He lost no time in making his plans known.  In reporting his arrival in San Francisco, the Alta California announced on April 3 that the genial and jolly humorist proposed to lecture in a few days.  (Lorch, p. 74)

April 17 – 29, 1868 - Lecture Tour, California and Nevada: at least 7 engagements - "Pilgrim Life"

Clemens took the California Steam Navigation Company’s daily steamer to Sacramento on 16 April, where he lectured the following night. After also lecturing in nearby Marysville (18 April), Nevada City (20 April), and Grass Valley (21 April), he returned to Sacramento, and on 23 April took the 6:30 a.m. Central Pacific train for Nevada (Langley 1867, “Advertising Department,” vii; “Railroads and Stages,” San Francisco Alta California, 23 Apr 68, 4).    

To Samuel Williams  14 April 1868 • San Francisco, Calif.

April 17 - Metropolitan Theater, Sacramento, California

I have found no reference to how Twain traveled to Marysville but I suspect, just as in '66, he took the steamer.

April 18 - Marysville, California

April 20 - Nevada City, California

April 21 - Grass Valley, California

Sam returned to Sacramento on the 22nd.  From Sacramento, Central Pacific Railroad to Donner Summit; A Six-Horse Sleigh to Donner Lake; Mail Coach to Coburn's Station; then railway and stagecoaches to Virginia City.  “From Sacramento he proceeded by rail to the summit of the Sierras where the snow lay thirty feet deep on level ground and one hundred feet deep in drifts. Then came the arduous ride down the eastern slope of the mountain, first by six-horse sleigh down to Donner Lake, then mail coach to Coburn’s Station, and then railway and stagecoaches to Virginia City” [Lorch 79-80].  On arriving in Virginia City Sam was in one of the carriages that crowded around the gallows for one John Milleain (known also as Jean Millian), the convicted murderer of the prostitute Julia Bulette.

April 27 and 28 - Piper's Opera House, Virginia City, Nevada (see Maguire's Opera House)

April 29 - Carson City, Nevada

April 30 - School Benefit, Carson City, Nevada - "Sandwich Islands"

From Page 466 The Life of Mark Twain: The Early Years, 1835-1871:

While he was in the vicinity he visited both Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake before returning to Sacramento on May 3. Paradoxically, he preferred the old stage route over the Sierra Nevada to the new route via the Central Pacific Railroad. That trip was “more irksome” than the old one, he asserted, “on account of your being obliged to shift from cars to stages and back again every now and then in the mountains. We used to rattle across all the way by stage, and never mind it at all, save that we had to ride thirty hours without stopping,” He then sailed back to San Francisco on the steamer Capital on May 5.


The tour completed, Mark Twain returned to San Francisco and once more reestablished himself at an old favorite haunt, the Occidental Hotel, which he once referred to as "heaven on the half-shell."  There for two full months, he settled down and worked on  Innocents Abroad and on  his newspaper correspondence.  He had planned to leave California near the end of June, but finally set July 6 as the day of departure.  Before saying farewell to the city he loved, he decided to give a final lecture and set the date, July 2.  (Lorch, p 81)

From Virginia City and Over the Sierra Nevada to Sacramento.

From Sacramento to San Francisco

Depart San Francisco