An account of the most remarkable mail service ever in existence, and its place in history.
The Pony Express was the first rapid transit and the first fast mail line across the North American continent from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast. It was a system by means of which messages were carried swiftly on horseback across the plains and deserts, and over the mountains of the far West. It brought the Atlantic coast and the rapidly developing state of California ten days nearer to each other.
The Pony Express had only a brief existence, from April 1860 to October 1861, when it was supplanted by the trans-continental telegraph. Yet it was of the greatest importance in binding the East and West together at a time when overland travel was slow and cumbersome, and when a great national crisis made the rapid communication of news between these sections an imperative necessity.
The Pony Express marked the highest development in overland travel prior to the coming of the Pacific railroad, which it preceded by nine years. In fact, it proved the feasibility of a transcontinental road and demonstrated that such a line could be built and operated continuously the year around — a feat that had always been regarded as impossible.
The operation of the Pony Express was a supreme achievement of physical endurance on the part of man and his ever faithful companion, the horse. The history of this organization should be a lasting monument to the physical sacrifice of man and beast in an effort to accomplish something worthwhile. Its history should be an enduring tribute to American courage and American organizing genius.