The Pony Express Was Not an End in Itself

“The Pony Express was not an end in itself, but a means to an end. There had been previous suggestions for the establishment of a fast overland express, and an attempt was made inn Congress in 1855 to provide such a service, but these efforts did not succeed. With the establishment of the overland stage lines a rivalry had arisen between Butterfield and the ‘Central’ routes . . . 

During the winter of 1859-60, while Mr. William H. Russell was in Washington, he discussed the overland mail question with Senator Gwin of California. The Senator contended that it was necessary to demonstrate the feasibility of the Central route before he would be able to get from Congress a subsidy to reimburse the firm for the undertaking. The plan appealed to Russell and he agreed to put through the enterprise.”