The Pony Express

Wanted: slim youths, who would like good pay.
Willing to risk death, most every day.
Good riders and brave, who can give their own word.
No close family ties and orphans preferred.

The venture was planned by men of means,
Who wanted more wealth to stuff in their jeans.
St. Joseph Missouri, the last mail post.
By sea it took weeks to reach the west coast.

A horse, day and night, while running full speed,
Should cover the distance as quick as they'd need.
With stations in place to draw a fresh mount,
On maintaining top speed, they felt they could count.

Each rider with mail bag strapped in place,
Not sparing his hose, o'er the plains would race.
In just a few days the mail could go
To Frisco Town, from Old St. Jo.

The riders' response was quick to come.
Exciting most folks and surprising some.
The planners would deem it a sign of success.
They called their venture "The Pony Express."

Some of the riders, for pay and for thrill,
The pages of history books later would fill.
Buffalo Bill and "Wild Bill" Hickok,
Who later at the door of fame would knock.

But Billy Tate is the one I would cheer,
Escaped from an orphanage, for a career.
Age fourteen and not very tall,
he was the youngest to answer the call.

Galloping swiftly over a rise,
A sickening sight was his surprise.
For crossing his path that very day,
A war party, fierce, was on its way.

Into their midst his horse would bound,
The warriors gathering all around.
oh, what a wicked trick of fate,
Their faces streaked with paint and hate.

The seized his horse and off he'd slide.
Rush to the ricks, he'd soon decide.
Arrows hissed and shots rang out,
With clattering hoof and warrior shout.

Then all was quiet, on that day,
As clamor and hoof beats faded away.
The night would come so soft and clear.
The night birds called -- no one to hear.

Then early on another day,
The searchers found him where he lay.
His pistol empty on the ground,
His rifle minus just one round.

The warriors deigned that Bill should die,
But seven braves lay dead nearby.
The searchers sobbed, to tears they hid,
While gathering up this spunky kid.

From east to west the railroad spanned.
To close the link across the land.
No more the pony express would ride
To deliver the mail with courage and pride.

This fragment of history, vivid and brief,
Pilfers your thoughts like a wily thief.
Intriguing me most, I will confess,
Are the stories told of the Pony Express.

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