The Pony Express Debuts Today in 1860

On this day in 1860, the Pony Express began its run through parts of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. On average, a rider covered 75 to 100 miles daily, changing horses at relay stations set 10 to 15 miles apart.

The first mail by Pony Express from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California (nearly 2,000 miles), took 10 days, cutting the overland stage time by more than half. The fastest delivery was in March 1861, when President Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address was carried from St. Joseph to Sacramento in 7 days and 17 hours.

The Pony Express officially ended October 26, 1861, after the transcontinental telegraph line was completed, and became an enduring legend.