Although there is much material available on this subject, this treatment of the first run of the Pony Express makes a fresh and vigorous impression. Though the overland route between St. Joseph, Missouri, and San Francisco was ridden by the Express for less than two years (1860 through 1861), it marked a period significant in American history and accomplishment. Defiant of time, hazardous terrain, hostile weather, and marauding Indians, the riders made their crossing with the frenzy and determination of champion jockeys. Who these men were, the obstacles they encountered on their first trip, the stamina it took to ride as much as 120 miles in one day -- these are the issues discussed by the author, who also emphasizes the importance their mission had in frustrating Confederate attempts to woo the hitherto isolated State of California away from the Union. Author of Little Britches and other books, Ralph Moody has amassed much interesting and specific detail which he has organized with noteworthy facility.