Pony Express Riders

All the riders were young men selected for their nerve, light weight, and general fitness. No effort was made to uniform them, and they dressed as their individual fancy dictated, the usual costume being a buckskin hunting-shirt, cloth trousers tucked into a pair of high boots, and a jockey-cap or slouchhat. . . .

The riders were looked up to, and regarded as being “at the top of the heap.” No matter what time of the day or of the night they were called upon, whether winter or summer, over mountains or across plains, raining or snowing, with rivers to swim or pleasant prairies to cross, through forests or over the burning desert, they must be ready to respond, and, though in the face of hostiles, ride their beat and make their time. To be late was their only fear, and to get in ahead of schedule their pride. There was no killing time for them, under any circumstances. The schedule was keyed up to what was considered the very best time that could be done, and a few minutes gained on it might be required to make up for a fall somewhere else. First-class horses were furnished, and there were no orders against bringing them in in a sweat. “Make your schedule,” was the standing rule. While armed with the most effective weapon then known, the Colt revolver, they were not expected to fight, but to run away. Their weapons were t0 be used only in emergencies.