San Francisco Daily Examiner[unsigned]
1885: March 9

The San Francisco agents of this book give notice that, though some unavoidable delays have occurred, this volume is now ready for delivery to subscribers. As to the work itself, it is well described by the author, as being without a motive, a moral, or a plot. The only reason to be, as the French say, is probably that the author thought he could make some money by publishing a book of some kind, and here it is--such as it is. It is apparently, as the art critics say, a pot-boiler in its baldest form. As a picture of life in the Southwest, however, there is little to be said in the book's favor, though there are several passages which are drawn with much ability, with occasionally a touch of a sort of grotesque pathos which greatly interests the reader. As to the rest, it is very much of the same character as many of the author's Pacific Coast sketches, in the utter absence of truth and being unlike anything that ever existed in the earth, above the earth, or in the waters under the earth. Some twenty-two years since, when Mr. Clemens was working as a reporter on the Territorial Enterprise, published in Virginia City, Nevada, he signalized his career by getting up a series of startling stories, the most prominent feature of which was the lack of a grain of fact. One of Clemens' most notorious lucutrations in this line was the report of the massacre of a whole family at Van Sickles or Empire City, which caused much horror and also great annoyance. Mark Twain contended that this was a good joke, and the parties who were inconvenienced should not have got angry. When, however, it was his ox that was gored, there were no such feelings of equanimity exhibited on his side of the house. For instance, afterward, when he paid a visit to his old haunts on the Comstock, a party of his former intimates played a practical joke on him, he was one of the maddest mortals who could be seen in a day's march. Something, however, should be said in praise of the style in which the book has been published. It is plentifully illustrated with engravings of no mean skill, and is well printed in fine, clear type.

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