Mark Twain's "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" was first published in the November 18, 1865, edition of The New York Saturday Press, under the title "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog." The story, which has also been published as "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," is set in a gold-mining camp in Calaveras County, California, and has its origins in the folklore of the Gold Rush era. It was one of Twain's earliest writings, and helped establish his reputation as a humorist. He eventually included it as the title story in his first collection of tales.
"Jumping Frog" was originally told in epistolary form—that is, as a letter—though some reprints of the tale have since omitted this letter-frame convention. In the story, Twain recounts his visit, made at the request of a friend back East, to an old man named Simon Wheeler in a California mining camp. Wheeler tells Twain a colorful story about another miner, Jim Smiley. According to Wheeler, Smiley loved to make bets; he would bet on nearly anything. Wheeler relates some of Smiley's more famous gambling escapades, one of which concerns a pet frog. Critics frequently cite this story as an example of a tall tale and note Twain's use of humor and exaggeration. They also emphasize the tale's satirical focus on storytelling and existing cultural differences between the western and eastern regions of the United States.