Skip to main content

Bad Business

June 2024
1min read


If the Pony Express (“Remembering Big,” November/December 2003) delivered 34,753 pieces of mail in 308 continental crossings, then the typical rider carried 113 letters. If the average charge per letter was $5.00, then the company received $565 in revenue per crossing. Out of that revenue, the company had to pay the rider, buy the horses, replace the horses that went lame, maintain stations every 15 miles, pay the employees who ran the stations, feed the horses while they were waiting for the next rider, and try to pay some profit to the owners. No wonder it went out of business.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.

Donate