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Roughing It | Key Figures

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Key Figure Description
Mark Twain Mark Twain is the author and narrator of the book who tells of his adventures exploring the West as a young man. Read More
Orion Clemens Twain's brother, Orion, has been appointed Secretary of the Nevada Territory. Mark Twain accompanies his brother to Nevada to serve as his personal secretary. Read More
Mr. Ballou Mr. Ballou is a 60-year-old blacksmith who joins Twain on the mining venture to Humboldt in search of silver. Read More
Higbie Higbie is Twain's close friend and his mining partner in Esmeralda. Read More
George Bemis Mr. George Bemis joins Twain and his brother for the overland journey by stagecoach to Carson City. Read More
Brigham Young Brigham Young is the leader of the Mormon church in Salt Lake City. Twain considers him the "king" of Utah. Read More
Slade J.A. Slade is a notorious desperado-turned-division agent for the stagecoach company. Read More
The Admiral The Admiral is a retired sea captain aboard Twain's boat to Hawaii. He annoys the other passengers with his political rants.
A.D. Allen A.D. Allen is the foreman of the Wide West mining company and Twain and Higbie's partner after they discover the "blind lead." He eventually profits from the discovery, while Twain and Higbie get nothing.
Arkansas Old Arkansas is an argumentative desperado who stays at the same remote inn with Twain outside of Carson City. When he tries to shoot the landlord, the landlord's wife threatens him with scissors and puts him in his place.
Justice Atwill After Gumbert stabs Reeder, Justice Atwill releases him from custody and orders him to come to trial that evening. Instead, Gumbert shoots Reeder.
Babbitt Babbitt is the lone survivor of an Indian massacre of 1856. Terribly wounded with a broken leg, he drags himself to safety over two days.
Dick Baker Baker is a pocket miner who uses his cat, Tom Quartz, to help him find gold.
Bascom Bascom, a planter in Thailand, invites Twain to visit Eckert with him to try to hear him tell his tall tales.
Mrs. Beazeley Mrs. Beazeley had written to Erickson about her son William, whose health is failing.
William Beazeley William Beazeley is a young man who is obsessed with growing turnips on a vine. His health begins to fade as he fails at this endeavor.
Jim Blaine Jim Blaine is a resident of Virginia City. He gets drunk and tells a long, rambling story about his grandfather's old ram.
Captain Ned Blakely Captain Ned Blakely is a San Francisco sea captain who sails to the Chincha Islands. When his shipmate is murdered, Blakely brings the murderer, Bill Noakes, to justice.
Blucher Blucher is a homeless reporter down on his luck who Twain befriends in San Francisco.
Boggs Boggs is a rival reporter in Virginia City who likes to drink a bit too much. He and Twain trick each other to try to publish important stories first.
Scotty Briggs Scotty Briggs is a miner and a friend of Buck Fanshaw. He arranges Fanshaw's funeral oratory with the local minister and later becomes a religious man himself.
Billy Brown Billy Brown is shot to death by Jack Williams after getting drunk at a saloon and firing at Williams.
General Buncombe General Buncombe is a self-important Easterner who becomes the U.S. Attorney for Nevada. The locals trick him into trying a fake case about a landslide.
Clagett Young Clagett, a lawyer, is one of Twain's mining partners in Humboldt.
Captain Cook Captain James Cook, a British explorer, was killed in Hawaii (the Sandwich Islands) after tricking natives into believing he was the god Lono.
John Cradlebaugh Mr. Cradlebaugh was a federal judge in Utah at the time of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. He attempts to prosecute those responsible for the attack.
Cumming Cumming was appointed governor of Nevada after Brigham Young was removed from office.
Sheriff Cummings Conrad Wiegand calls on Sherriff Cummings to protect him during a visit with John Winters and Philip Lynch.
Abe Curry Old Abe Curry informs Twain that he's been duped into buying the Mexican plug horse. Curry later offers a building rent-free to the state legislature, helping to save the fledgling government.
Eckert Eckert, an Englishman in Thailand, is known for telling stories that can't possibly be true.
Simon Erickson Simon Erickson is a possibly mentally ill preacher who is convalescing in Hawaii. He believes he has corresponded with Horace Greeley and Queen Victoria.
Buck Fanshaw Buck Fanshaw is a Virginia City saloonkeeper who is much loved around town. His death is mourned by many.
Mr. Goodman Mr. Goodman is the owner and chief editor of the Enterprise newspaper in Virginia City. He hires Twain as a reporter.
Horace Greeley Horace Greeley is a journalist from New York. An oft-told anecdote claims that he once went on a stagecoach ride that was so bumpy his head popped through the roof of the coach.
Reuel Gridley Reuel Gridley is a former schoolmate of Twain's who loses an election and a bet with the winner. He then auctions a sack of flour in several cities to raise money for wounded Union soldiers.
George Gumbert George Gumbert stabs and later shoots Tom Reeder, who dies, but he is never charged with a crime.
Harris Mr. Harris, a Carson City resident, is wounded in a shoot-out on Twain's first day in town.
Ben Holliday Ben Holliday is in charge of the western half of the stagecoach route. He is known for his efficiency and speed at managing his route.
Charles Hurtzal Charles Hurtzal is robbed at gunpoint by Jack Williams at a music hall.
Dick Hyde Dick Hyde is a ranch owner in the Carson City area. He participates in a fake trial about a landslide as a joke on General Buncombe.
Jack Jack, a young man from New York, tells a story about Ben Holliday while traveling in the Holy Land with Twain.
Colonel Jack Colonel Jack is a naive country boy who suddenly strikes it rich. He travels to New York City to see the sights, where he hires a public bus, thinking it is a grand private carriage.
Jacops Jacops is mentioned by Jim Blaine as he tells his story. Jacops is a coffin seller who waits like a vulture for sick people to die.
Colonel Jim Colonel Jim, a wealthy and prominent man from Nevada, accompanies Colonel Jack to New York City.
Johnny Johnny K is the son of a rich Ohioan who travels to Nevada for recreation. He camps at Lake Tahoe with Twain, where he does much of the work.
Johnson Johnson, a quiet and well-mannered man, is the landlord of an inn outside Carson City. He unintentionally offends Arkansas, who tries to pick a fight with him.
Mr. Johnson Mr. Johnson, a man living in Salt Lake City, tells Twain of his breakfast with Brigham Young.
Jules Mr. Jules, a former agent for the stagecoach company, hates Slade, who took over his job. After they have a shootout, he goes into hiding, but Slade eventually finds and kills him.
Kaahumanu Kaahumanu was the wife of Kamehameha. She encouraged the new king Liholiho to abolish the old taboos of their society, including one that forbade men and women from eating together.
Kamehameha Kamehameha was the historic warrior king of Hawaii who united the islands. His funeral was held in 1819.
Kekuanaoa His Royal Highness M. Kekuanaoa is the president of the national legislature of Hawaii and the father of the king.
Liholiho Liholiho is the son of Kamehameha and becomes king after his death.
Philip Lynch Philip Lynch, owner of the Gold Hill News, is accused by Conrad Wiegand of aiding John B. Winters in an assassination plot.
Markiss Markiss is an annoying local in Maui who continually interrupts Twain's conversations with tall tales.
Marlette Marlette is a tourist who ventures to the bottom of the Kilauea volcano with Twain one night in Hawaii.
Joe McGee Joe McGee is chosen by a gang of desperadoes to kill Jack Williams, and he does. He is later killed himself by another member of the gang.
Mike Mike, who becomes Twain's agent on the lecture tour in Nevada and California, is a friend of Twain's.
Tom Morgan Tom Morgan owns a Carson City ranch that is supposedly transplanted by a landslide, burying Dick Hyde's ranch beneath his own. The story is false; like Hyde, Morgan is playing a joke on General Buncombe.
Bill Noakes Bill Noakes is a local rough in the Chincha Islands. He kills Captain Ned's shipmate and is executed for the crime.
Captain Nye Captain John Nye, the Governor's brother, rides with Twain to Esmeralda. Twain later cares for him when he becomes dangerously ill.
Governor Nye Nye, the governor of Nevada, sends a group of his followers to survey the countryside simply to keep them out of his hair.
Obookia A young man from Hawaii (the Sandwich Islands), Obookia visits New York, where he converts to Christianity and is educated.
Bridget O'Flannigan Bridget O'Flannigan is a French woman who offers board to men who work for the Nevada governor.
Oliphant Oliphant, one of Twain's mining partners in Humboldt, is a young lawyer.
Ollendorff Ollendorff is a Prussian man who becomes Twain's mining partner in Esmeralda. He later gets the group lost in a terrible snowstorm, where they almost freeze to death.
Captain Phillips Captain Phillips gives Twain a ride in his carriage in Hawaii.
Princess Victoria Princess Victoria is the sister of the king of Hawaii. Twain attends her funeral procession and services.
Tom Reeder Tom Reeder is stabbed and shot by George Gumbert after they argue about Billy Brown's death. He dies two days later.
Sidney Rigdon After Joseph Smith was killed, Sidney Rigdon briefly takes over leadership of the Mormon church.
Roop Roop is the ex-governor of Nevada, replaced by Governor Nye. Roop oversees the fake trial of Hyde v. Morgan in Carson City.
Sawyer Sawyer is a stranger who attends Twain's lecture in San Francisco. He promises to laugh in exchange for a free ticket.
Slade's wife Slade's wife is a loyal, clever woman who rescues him from jail through trickery. She loves her husband deeply and mourns his loss sincerely.
John Smith John Smith is an honest farmer who strikes it rich in silver. He travels to Europe, where he admires the livestock in England, Spain, and Rome.
Joseph Smith Joseph Smith founded the Mormon religion and published the <em>Book of Mormon</em>.
Street Mr. Street is a resident of Salt Lake City who takes Twain to meet Brigham Young. He oversees the construction of telegraph lines through the desert and over the mountains.
Van Dorn Mr. Van Dorn, a friend of Mr. Whiteman, promises Twain that they will be able to join Whiteman on his next expedition.
Miss Wagner Miss Wagner is mentioned by Jim Blaine as he tells his story. The poor lady had to borrow a glass eye, a wig, and a wooden leg from others.
Whiteman Mr. Whiteman is a mysterious miner who searches for a lost "cement mine" in Nevada. He travels through Carson City disguised to try to hide his movements, but people try to follow him to the rich mine.
Conrad Wiegand Wiegand, an assayer in Gold Hill, writes a letter to the editor about a possible assassination attempt on his life.
Williams Williams is a passenger on Twain's boat to Hawaii. He puts the Admiral in his place one night during a political argument.
Jack Williams Jack Williams is a corrupt officer of the law in Virginia City. He robs and murders citizens, and is himself shot to death while playing cards.
John B. Winters John B. Winters, president of the Yellow Jacket Company (mining operation), is accused of beating Conrad Wiegand and threatening his life.
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