Relay stations were about 10 to 15 miles apart along the route. The station would have a horse saddled and ready. In the distance, there's a smudge of dust, then a speck. Coming closer it becomes a sprinting horse carrying a skinny, wiry fellow ...
The keeper brought out the fresh horse so there would be no delay. The arriving pony express rider jumped from his horse, leaving it for the station keeper to tend. He grabbed the mail bags, perhaps some water, and was on his way again in two minutes or less. Each rider covered their 75 mile leg of the relay as fast as possible, then waited for the mail delivery from the other direction and headed back.
All told, these riders covered 650,000 miles, most of them at breakneck speed.
Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.
A plaque that marks the spot of the final destination of the first Pony Express ride.
Why It's Interesting
With lack of speedy communication and Forty-niners desperate for news from home, the Pony Express was born. Riders raced to each station (10 miles apart) as fast as they could where they'd receive a fresh horse. When they finished their route (about 100 miles) the next rider would take over. It took 20 riders to complete the 1966 mile mail run from St. Joseph, MO to San Francisco. They made this trip in about 10 days riding night and day. Famous riders were Buffalo Bill, and Wild Bill Hickock.