Samuel Clemens / Mark Twain

© Photographed October 11, 2015
Elkhorn, Walworth County, Wisconsin

Citing on why, in his youth in 1861, he threw everything to the wind and set out for the WEST, Mark Twain said it was out of envy for an older brother who was bound for the Nevada Territory and he hated to miss out on the fun. Mark Twain said, "Pretty soon he would be hundreds and hundreds of miles away on the great plains and deserts and he would see buffalo and Indians and all kinds of adventures and maybe even get hanged or scalped and have ever such a fine time and then write home to tell all about it and be a hero."

Thus, Mark Twain was a part of millions who headed WEST for the free land with the hope that with the force of will and energy something could be made out of the land and thereby improve their condition. He said he was "armed to the teeth with a pitiful little Smith & Wesson seven shooter which carried a ball like a homeopathic pill and it too the whole seven to make a dose of an adult. But it was grand." Mark Twain concluded that "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So, thrown off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, and catch the trade winds in your sails; explore, dream, and discovery.

My grandmother, Emily Calvert, was born in Etna, WI (which no longer exists) in 1866, one year after the Civil War and 22 years after settlers first started moving west. She was 10 years old at the time of "Custer's Last Stand" and the discovery of gold in the Black Hills. She was 22 when it was announced that the West Was Closed and 34 when this bard was built. She never traveled west of the Mississippi River.

The WEST was like an elephant in the room. Despite its commanding presence, many felt uncomfortable dealing with it. This museum is a footprint of those times.
Watson's Wild West is located on westbound Potter Road, west of its intersection with North Wisconsin Street, at

Watsons [sic] Wild West Dinner Theater and Western Museum

The marker is in the square frame above the large wagon wheel.

Nearby era signs (above and below)

The marker is located at Watson's Wild West in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

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