Across the Plains is the middle section of Robert Louis Stevenson's three-part travel memoir which began with The Amateur Emigrant and ended with The Silverado Squatters.
The book contains 12 chapters, each a story or essay unto itself. The title chapter is the longest, and is divided into 7 subsections. It describes Stevenson's arrival at New York as an immigrant, along with hundreds of other Europeans, and his train journey from New York to San Francisco in an immigrant train. Stevenson describes the train as having three sections: one for women and children, one for men, and one for Chinese. He notes that while the Europeans looked down on the Chinese for being dirty, in fact the Chinese carriages were the freshest and their passengers the cleanest.
Robert Louis Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, musician and travel writer. His most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and A Child's Garden of Verses. Stevenson was a literary celebrity during his lifetime, and now ranks as the 26th most translated author in the world. His works have been admired by many other writers, including Jorge Luis Borges, Bertolt Brecht, Marcel Proust, Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James, Cesare Pavese, Emilio Salgari, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, Vladimir Nabokov, J. M. Barrie, and G. K. Chesterton, who said that Stevenson "seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins".