Purpose of the Pony Express

Forty-five years later Alexander Majors said that Russell, Majors & Waddell took over the Express Company to protect its own and Russell’s credit. While this was true, there was far more to it than that. First of all, they had to take it over or write off their claim of $190,269, which they were not disposed to do.  By taking over the bankrupt concern, which would bring them $198,750 in mail pay alone to November 15, 1860, they thought they saw a chance to come out whole. They also held a monopoly on the stage coach, commercial and military freight, passenger, express, and mail business on the Central Route. The possibilities involved in these things were sufficiently great to justify whatever efforts were necessary to realize them.

That the foregoing measures were taken to place them in a position to compete with the Butterfield Overland Mail Company for the great $600,000 mail contract, which would be up for renewal in 1862, is plain. That was the end for which the Central Overland California & Pike’s Peak Express Company was organized. Encouraged by politics and the continual barrage of complaints against the Overland Mail Company, especially in California, Russell, Majors & Waddell felt they had a good chance of success, which they did have under ordinary circumstances. In the normal course of things, it was inevitable that the principal mail line would run over the Central Route. Nature had made that the shortest and best route, and sectional politics could not long prevent its adoption.