Morton Kunstler (American, B. 1931) "Pony Express" Signed and dated lower right. Original acrylic on Illustration Board.
Provenance: Collection of James A. Helzer (1946-2008), Founder of Unicover Corporation.
This painting was published on the Fleetwood Commemorative Cover for Epic Events in American History series issued in 1985.
In all history, no nation ever expanded as rapidly as the new United States. Railroads reached the Mississippi River as early as 1850, but it would take another twenty years before they linked the Atlantic to the Pacific. With the eruption of Civil War it became essential to have a speedier link between Washington and California than that supplied by the Overland Stagecoach, or ships sailing around the Strait of Magellan. The freight firm of Russell, Majors and Waddell took up the challenge in the spring of 1860 when it launched the "Pony Express." The exploits of the Pony Express in carrying mail across 1800 miles of wilderness caught -- and held -- the imagination of the American people. And well it might! To accomplish this perilous task, the firm bought hundreds of fast Indian ponies; hired daredevil riders, such as the legendary William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, who, at the tender age of fourteen, covered some 320 miles in a mere twenty-one hours; and built some 150 way stations where fresh ponies and riders awaited those who came racing in. Traveling day and night, across trackless desert and forbidding mountains, inhabited only by hostile Indians, the intrepid riders covered the distance between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California in ten days. In the eighteen months of its history, the Pony Express missed only one trip. Alas for the enterprising freight firm of Russell, Majors and Waddell, telegraph lines joined Mississippi and California in October 1861.
Image Size: 12 x 14 in.
Overall Size: 20 x 18.25 in.
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