This picture of Kevin McCarthy as Mark Twain in 'The Rifleman' is one of the best televersions I've seen of the author - at least as far as pictures go. I've yet to see the actual episode, but as a big fan of Mr. McCarthy's work, I'm sure he did a very convincing job.
"The Shattered Idol" concerned Samuel Clemens' visit to the town of North Fork in the New Mexico territory. Here's a great description of the episode , written as though it came from Lucas McCain's diary.....
I've seen it stated that 'The Rifleman' took place in the 1880s, and this episode just may confirm that.
Twain's next major published work, "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", solidified him as a noteworthy American writer. Some have called it the first Great American Novel, and the book has become required reading in many schools throughout the United States. "Huckleberry Finn" was an offshoot from "Tom Sawyer" and had a more serious tone than its predecessor.
The main premise behind "Huckleberry Finn" is the young boy's belief in the right thing to do though most believed that it was wrong. Four hundred manuscript pages of "Huckleberry Finn" were written in mid-1876, right after the publication of "Tom Sawyer".
Some accounts have Twain taking seven years off after his first burst of creativity, eventually finishing the book in 1883. Other accounts have Twain working on "Huckleberry Finn" in tandem with "The Prince and the Pauper" and other works in 1880 and other years.
The last fifth of "Huckleberry Finn" is subject to much controversy. Some say that Twain experienced, as critic Leo Marx puts it, a "failure of nerve".
Ernest Hemingway once said of "Huckleberry Finn":"If you read it, you must stop where the Nigger Jim is stolen from the boys. That is the real end. The rest is just cheating."
So Clemens' vow to finish the book would put this episode around late 1882. And that's an awful long time for Twain to be still grieving so heavily for the loss of his baby son Langdon. Langdon died of diphtheria at the age of 19 months before the end of 1871 back in Buffalo, New York.