The Mail Must Go Through: The Pony Express Rider

Photo of the U.S. stamp issued to mark the 100-year centennial of the 1860 founding of the Pony Express
The Pony Express U.S. postage stamp issued for the centennial of the 1860 founding

On April 3, 1860, at 5 p.m., a courier mounted a fast, spirited steed in St. Joseph, Missouri, and headed westward at breakneck speed. At about the same time in San Francisco, another rider began a dash toward the East. These were the first Pony Express riders.

During the eighteen months of the short history of the Pony Express, many miracles of endurance and bravery were performed before the famous relay system was replaced by the telegraph line. Racing from station to station, the average courier carried his precious cargo between 40 and 125 miles at a clip. Whether he rode over mountains or plains, or through dangerous Indian territories; whether his ride was at night or during the day, in stifling heat or cruel blizzards, the courageous riders of the Pony Express almost never failed to bring the mail to its destination. It is said that only one mail was lost in a total of 650,000 miles in the saddles.

Many of the express rides were products of the frontier, selected for their light weight and cool-headedness in times of danger. All were able to ride and shoot with amazing skill. Buffalo Bill Cody was, early in his career, a Pony Express rider.

From The Lone Ranger 96, June 1956

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