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The year: 1860. A newspaper advertisement: Wanted - young expert horsemen, good moral character, ready to endure severe hardships. Their job: carry the mail 2000 miles between St. Joe and Sacramento against the impossible barriers of terrain, weather, Indians... and time.
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Troubleshooter Tom Clyde (Bill Cord) cleans up problems for the pony express.
A quarter century before the YOUNG RIDERS show premiered, this little known syndicated series employed the pony express as the background for its western dramas. Perhaps the reason that the show, unlike RIDERS, failed to succeed has to do with the fact that very little time was given over to the actual business of riding for the famed (if, historically speaking, short-lived) company. Apparently, the writers couldn't imagine how they might come up with a weekly drama about a young man riding along at a fast clip, and barely stopping at a way station for a new horse before heading on again. Instead, they took an approach that have proved highly successful for Dale Robertson in NBC's TALES OF WELLS FARGO, which likewise spent precious little time with the stagecoach drivers and instead focused on a detective working for the company, which allowed for far more gunplay and romance. In PONY EXPRESS, the unknown Bill Cord played a similar role, a hero named Tom Clyde who showed up at the express way stations to solve mysteries and the like. Coming toward the end of the western craze, and without a network slot, the show was not picked up by enough local stations to make the creation of a second season worthwhile. One interesting note: Dick Jones, who had played the sidekick to Jock Mahoney on RANGE RIDER and then headlined his own Gene Autry-produced kiddie western, BUFFALO BILL, JR., appeared in one episode as a kind of young sidekick to the hero. The only problem was that Jones had begun to visibly age, and no longer had that scrappy teenager look of his earlier work, even though he was cast in just such a part. At any rate, despite the fact that he rode off into the sunset alongside the hero at the episode's end, Jones didn't show up on PONY EXPRESS again.
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