Why was The Pony Express so short lived?

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pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The Pony Express was always looking for riders.  The job was so dangerous, deadly really, that their employment posters sought out young men, teenagers, and especially orphans. Below is an actual ad seeking Pony Express riders.

"Wanted, young skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen, must be expert riders willing to risk death daily, orphans preferred."

Although, only one Pony Express rider was killed by Indians during the 19 months of operation, also lost, only one bag of mail.  

The real reason that the Pony Express could not keep its riders was because the hard working young men, who rode in all types of weather had a hard time collecting their earnings. They often did not get paid, the company complained about being cash poor, they kept terrible records and seemed to have a hard time collecting the fees owed them for the delivery service. 

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

While the Pony Express, established in April 1860 until November, 1861, was an fast, efficient service, it was not economically viable. (The fastest ride was in seven days seventeen hours from the time President Lincoln's Inaugural address was telegraphed from Washington to St. Joseph the Pony Express delivered it to Sacramento, CAalifornia.)  For one thing, Congress never sent Russell, Majors, and Woddell payment for services during the Utah War.  The firm survivied on loans made against government debts since 1858.  The company grossed only $90,141 and lost $200,000 by the time it closed operations

slchanmo1885's profile pic

slchanmo1885 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

The Pony Express only lasted nineteen months, from April 3, 1860 to October 24, 1861. It consisted of more than 100 stations and 80 pony express riders, and hundreds of horses. It began because people needed a way to deliver mail and communication to people out West. However, it did not last long because the Pacific Telegraph line was built and that was considerably faster and easier than people riding horses through the dangerous west. The Pony Express went bankrupt due to these factors, but it has remained an important and interesting era in American history, however short.


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