We will explore the rather raucous and adventurous life of one of America's most celebrated writers. From his boyhood days in Hannibal, Missouri, to his first ride down the Mississippi on a riverboat, where he adopted the most memorable pen name in American literature, to his brief enlistment as Confederate irregular during the Civil War, his early years will come into focus so that we may see what shaped this highly original human being. We will also look at his accumulation of fame and wealth and the temporary loss of both and how very important family was to this man who hated to be confined. He was terrified of abandonment. We will also examine how this phobia directed his life's ambitions.