You may find Mark Twain southwest humor surprising… and funny, of course… but he spent considerable time in the southwest. His accounts can be touching as well as humorous.

Mark Twain on the First Woman in Nevada

Old inhabitants tell how, in a certain Nevada camp, the news went abroad early in the morning that a woman was come! The miners had seen a calico dress hanging out of a wagon down at the camping ground---sign of emigrants from over the great plains. Everybody went down there, and a shout went up when an actual bona fide dress was discovered fluttering in the wind! The male emigrant was visible. The miners said:

“Fetch her out!”

He said: “It’s my wife, gentlemen---she is sick---we have been robbed of money, provisions, everything, by the Indians---we want to rest.”

“Fetch her out! We’ve got to see her!”

“But gentlemen, the poor thing, she---“


He “fetched her out,” and they swung their hats and sent up three rousing cheers, and they crowded around and gazed at her, and touched her dress, and listened to her voice with the look of men who listened to a memory rather than a present reality---and then they collected twenty-five hundreds dollars in gold and gave it to the man, and swung their hats again, and gave three more cheers, and went home satisfied.

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