Everything you need to understand or teach Across America on an Emigrant Train by Jim Murphy.
In 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson, then an obscure Scottish writer, learned that the woman he loved was seriously ill in California. Stevenson was nothing if not passionate, and he reacted quickly to the news— he took what money he had and borrowed more from friends, and then set out for California on an emigrant ship. Because he had little money for the journey, he shared the experiences and hardships of the many poor Europeans onboard who were emigrating to the United States in search of a better life.
Stevenson's family was well-to-do, and they disapproved of his running after a woman they disliked. Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne was more than ten years older than twenty-nine-year-old Stevenson, and she was already married to another man.
Because of her age and marital status Mrs. Osbourne was regarded as a bad match by Stevenson's family. Nevertheless, the pair were ultimately...