The Saga of the Pony Express

Overview

Though the transcontinental mail-by-suicide-rider service only lasted 18 months, it has become an icon of American mythology. Di Certo describes the social and political context of its rise, the details of its operation, and the causes for its demise. A film version is in planning. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Overview

Though the transcontinental mail-by-suicide-rider service only lasted 18 months, it has become an icon of American mythology. Di Certo describes the social and political context of its rise, the details of its operation, and the causes for its demise. A film version is in planning. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
The Pony Express, a rapid relay mail service from Missouri to California, looms large in the American psyche, but actually existed for less than two years, from April 1860 to October 1861. It came to an end as the overland telegraph service finally linked the eastern and western portions of the United States. It may not have lasted much beyond that time anyway, as its business managers were overextended. (Does this sound familiar?) Until 1860 mail was delivered from the West Coast to Middle America and back by stagecoach, and took about 20 days to reach its destination. The Pony Express, utilizing horses and riders, cut that time by 10 days. At St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California, the mail was packed into a mochilla, a light saddle with a pouch at each corner. The horses were chosen for speed and stamina. The expert riders, according to an 1860 poster, were required to be "young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen...willing to risk death daily." Orphans were preferred. Everything depended on speed; the rider wore light, fitted clothes and carried pistols instead of a rifle, to cut down on unnecessary weight. The route followed the Oregon-California Trail through Nebraska and Wyoming, cut south around the Great Salt Lake and west to California. Relay posts were set up every 10-15 miles and manned by station keepers who kept the horses in top shape with the best feed and bedding. The riders spent two to three minutes exchanging mounts and mochillas; change times were recorded on time cards kept in one of the mochilla pockets. There may have been as many as 190 small stations along the route. Home stations were established every 70 to 100 miles and had amenities that therelay stations lacked. A rider usually rode between home stations at top speed before he dismounted for a rest; during this time he would have changed horses as many as seven times. This sort of story stirs the romantic imagination and adds to the body of great Western lore. The author has written a shorter juvenile Pony Express history for Franklin Watts. The appendices include a list of relay stations (now mostly disappeared) and riders. The bibliography points to the information found in government publications and regional journals of Western history. Category: History & Geography. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Mountain Press, 246p. illus. bibliog. index., , Owings Mills, MD
Booknews
Though the transcontinental mail-by-suicide-rider service only lasted 18 months, it has become an icon of American mythology. Di Certo describes the social and political context of its rise, the details of its operation, and the causes for its demise. A film version is in planning. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878424528
  • Publisher: Mountain Press Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 348
  • Age range: 9 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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