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Buffalo Bill and Wild Bill Hickok join forces to establish a mail route that can get mail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, in ten days. Along the way they must battle bad weather, hostile Indians and outlaws intent on robbing the mail and shutting down the entire operation. Written by
Does anyone remember The Young Riders television series? Though that one got into the never never land of our old west mythology eventually at least it got it right about one thing. The Pony Express riders were in fact young teenage boys. William F. Cody was all of 13 when he was riding for them. James Butler Hickok, later nicknamed Wild Bill, was in his early twenties.
So when we see Charlton Heston doing all he's doing as Buffalo Bill in this film Pony Express, he's really playing a thirteen year old living out a fantasy dream of having both Rhonda Fleming and Jan Sterling chasing him.
Pony Express may in fact be one of the last of that grand tradition of B westerns where famous characters from the American frontier are taken and put into plots that had nothing to do with reality. Cody's famous fight with Cheyenne chief Yellow Hand is also included here although that in fact took place in the 1870s not in 1860.
In this film, Charlton Heston and Forrest Tucker as Wild Bill Hickok stumble upon a plot to detach California from the United States while the north and south sectional conflict edges closer to civil war. Part of that plan is stop the Pony Express and its promise of quick mail delivery. Rhonda Fleming's brother is part of the dastardly scheme and Jan Sterling plays a Calamity Jane like character who has eyes for Cody, but Cody has them for Fleming.
This film also marked the farewell appearance of Porter Hall who has a small role as another frontier character, legendary mountain man Jim Bridger. It's possible that Bridger, Cody, and Hickok may have all met at the same time, but I doubt it was under the circumstances shown.
Don't let the A list cast fool you. What you have in Pony Express is one of that dying group of B westerns which were getting a new life on television at this time.
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