why is it crucial?
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Tom's plan to help Jim escape is rather ridiculous. It involves shovels, digging and an elaborate process to get Jim out. Huck can think of many simpler ways to get Jim out but feels he needs Tom to be onside. Tom's reputation is good around town and the area. In many ways he has "reformed". Tom can validate the rescue in the eyes of others in a way Huck can't. Huck is also used to following Tom's lead in matters of adventure. Although Huck has matured beyond Tom, Huck still thinks he needs him.