Riders of the Pony Express by Ralph Moody
The Pony Express was how people in the West used to get and send letters from people in other parts of the country. The territory could be dangerous. There were outlaws and sometimes there were still pockets of hostile Native Americans. A rider had to be fast and he had to be able to depend on his horse. He carried mail in a bag, riding for long periods of time, sometimes as fast as he could. There were races between riders sometimes. Some riders went down in history.
When the United States finally got a more regular mail system, the Pony Express riders weren’t needed as much, but for a while, they were the communication lifeline between people who lived out in the western frontier and their families and friends.
What I liked
The Pony Express is actually something I would like to know more about. My family lived out west for a while, but it’s not the frontier anymore. I first expected this book to be a short western novel about the Pony Express riders, but it’s actually a more factual story about what the Pony Express was.
It put things in perspective a bit. We can get communication almost anytime we like. We have phones. We have the internet. People who lived out west back in the 1800s, probably didn’t have phones and they definitely didn’t have the internet. The mail system hadn’t exactly expanded out west yet. The best that could be done were the riders of the Pony Express. One man would ride across hundreds of miles to deliver that letter from your aunt who was telling you about her new grandbaby and the garden she put in. The Pony Express was the sole communication line for a lot of people for a while. It’s a scary thought and an impressive thought. It’s scary because that one rider could die or be captured and that important document someone was trying to send to you is just gone. It’s impressive because one person took it upon themselves to make sure your mail got to you. This makes mail carriers a little more bad***, not that any of my mail people have ever ridden around on a pony to deliver mail, although, it would be kind of neat.
What I didn’t like
Like I said, I would have liked to have known more. Sometimes, some of the best non-fiction books follow one historical figure around and retell their life and the world around them at the time. I think this book could have been something like that at one point.
Get on your horse and go deliver the mail. People are waiting on their Amazon boxes.
Wouldn’t it be so much cooler if mail people delivered the mail on horses?
What if Amazon had a fleet of horses that delivered mail instead of UPS and FedEx?