James Brown was the first to sign a contract under the new plan. Being one of the best plainsmen and freighters on the trails he delivered his consignment on schedule and in good order. This was something the army had never been able to do.
Russell, having already engaged in the business, and being fascinated by it, saw the possibilities for making money in the field of military freighting. With characteristic energy he set out to make the most of them. Consequently he formed a partnership with Brown in 1850, under the name of Brown, Russell & Company, to deliver 600,000 pounds of supplies at Santa Fe. Another partnership was formed the same year with John S. Jones to transport goods to Fort Hall on the Snake River, in the present state of Idaho. Brown accompanied the trains to Santa Fe, became ill, and died there in December of that year.