Pony Express: Legends of Parcel Delivery

this post answers the following questions

1. What is the delivery choice for prosecutors and cowboys across California during 1860s?
2. When does the Pony express was established?
3. How does the Pony express system works?
4. Who is the most famous parcel delivery rider?
5. The most famous parcel delivery rider is also known as?

One of the most iconic images of the Old West, the Pony Express was the parcel delivery service of choice for prospectors and cowboys across California during the 1860s. The Pony Express was established during the “gold rush” when promises of untold riches drew people from across the United States into what at that time was an area of mostly desert. Without any real roads, railways of telegraph offices out in the Wild West it was left to riders to carry messages and parcels to their intended recipients by hand.


PHOTO CREDITS: http://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight/6796863899/

The system worked by having a series of posts spread out across the West, each of them with their own riders waiting to carry a package on to the next town. A parcel delivery could then pass through a number of hands, making sure it arrived quickly for far cheaper than it would be hiring a single carrier. The service became known as the fastest hand-carried service in the world. News of President Abraham Lincoln’s election famously took only seven days to reach every corner of the nation thanks to the Pony Express system.

Being a Pony Express rider was a well-respected job, but dangerous. An advertisement for riders famously stated – “Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred”. The most famous of the riders was probably William Cody, also known as Buffalo Bill, who learned to read the entire West like the back of his hand during his parcel delivery years before putting it all to good use as a scout during the American Civil War. Buffalo Bill’s close friend Robert Haslam, who later negotiated the surrender of Chief Sitting Bull with Bill in 1890. Would regularly survive Native American ambushes during his Pony Express rides; one time riding 380 miles after an arrow in the jaw had knocked three of his teeth out. In fact, the longest single ride without stopping was only 40 miles less than Haslam’s journey, carried out by Jack Keetley in 1870.

Although the Pony Express was far faster than the traditional stagecoach method of parcel delivery, it was rather quickly replaced by the transcontinental railroad as California became a settled and prosperous state of its own accord – no longer the “Wild West”. The Pony Express had lived on in legend though, with at least eight Hollywood films being made solely about it between 1925 and 2008 and countless mentions in the rest of the “Western” canon. Like much of the “wild frontier”, the Pony Express lives on as an immortal part of the American imagination.

No longer solely the business of roughneck daredevil horse riders, a modern parcel delivery service is nevertheless the fastest way of getting your parcels where they need to get.

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