The paper began in 1853 as a twice-per-month publication; its claim to fame is that Mark Twain once wrote there under his real name, Sam Clemens. He was there hiding out from authorities in Nevada, where he had accepted a challenge to a duel after dueling had been outlawed. Since then not much has changed in the quaint gold rush town of Downieville, residents still rely on the now weekly newspaper for most, if not all the local news. Threatened by the dwindling population and resources of its hometown The Mountain Messenger was poised to end its run as the longest-running weekly newspaper in California until new owner Carl Butz stepped in. Surrounded by the buzz of the media Carl reincarnated the weekly paper. Thus saving not only a piece of California history but preserving what Downieville holds closest to its heart.