Sam Clemens lived in Hannibal from age 4 to age 17. The town, on the Mississippi River, was in many ways a great place to grow up. Steamboats arrived there three times a day, tooting their whistles; circuses, minstrel shows, and revivalists paid visits; a decent library was available; and tradesmen such as blacksmiths and tanners practiced their entertaining crafts for all to see. However, violence was common, young Sam witnessed much death. When he was 9 years old he saw a local man murder a cattle rancher, and at 10 he watched a slave die after a white overseer struck him with a piece of iron.
In July 1861, Twain climbed onboard a stagecoach and headed for Nevada and California, where he would live for the next five years. At first, he prospected for silver and gold, convinced that he would become the savior of his