“Orphans preferred” was the call that went out to the daring of heart when the Pony Express was organized nearly 150 years ago in April 1860. Called “The Greatest Enterprise of Modern Times,” the endeavor—which lasted only nineteenth months—recruited young men willing to risk life and limb in a relay race that crossed the frontier on a route from St. Joseph, Missouri, to San Francisco, California, speeding the delivery of mail to an astonishing ten days.
The Pony Express combines the legends and lore of this remarkable mail service with contemporary photography and archival images and documents from the past, and celebrates the sesquicentennial of the start—and end—of those daring rides, which ended with the completion of the transcontinental railroad. It is a befitting tribute to an American icon whose legacy is marked to this day by Pony Express museums all along the route from Missouri to California.
C.W. Guthrie is a freelance writer living in
Photographer Bart Smith is hiking and photographing all of the national trails. His photographs have been published in such magazines as the Smithsonian, National Geographic Adventure, and Backpacker. His photographic books include The Appalachian Trail: Calling Me Back to the Hills, Along the Pacific Crest Trail, Along the Florida Trail and Along