Dedication || 1: At A Nation's Crisis
This little volume has but one purpose—to give an authentic, useful,
and readable account of the Pony Express. This wonderful enterprise
played an important part in history, and demonstrated what American
spirit can accomplish. It showed that the "heroes of sixty-one" were not
all south of Mason and Dixon's line fighting each other. And, strange to
say, little of a formal nature has been written concerning it.
I have sought to bring to light and make accessible to all readers the
more important facts of the Pony Express—its inception, organization
and development, its importance to history, its historical background,
and some of the anecdotes incidental to its operation.
The subject leads one into a wide range of fascinating material, all
interesting though much of it is irrelevant. In itself this material is
fragmentary and incoherent. It would be quite easy to fill many pages
with western adventure having no special bearing upon the central topic.
While I have diverged occasionally from the thread of the narrative, my
purpose has been merely to give where possible more background to the
story, that the account as a whole might be more understandable in its
relation to the general facts of history.
Special acknowledgment is due Frank A. Root of Topeka, Kansas, joint
author with William E. Connelley of The Overland Stage To California, an
excellent compendium of data on many phases of the subject. In preparing
this work, various Senate Documents have been of great value. Some
interesting material is found in Inman and Cody's Salt Lake Trail.
The files of the Century Magazine, old newspaper files, Bancroft's
colossal history of the West and the works of Samuel L. Clemens have
also been of value in compiling the present book.