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Pony Express: 'The Twisted Truth'

It's 1860, and a dusty rider on a fast horse thunders past a remote outpost in the American West. Like relay racers preparing for a handoff, another horse gallops down the road. The rider jumps from one mount to the other and the Pony Express goes racing on to deliver the mail. But is that how it actually happened?

The saga of the Pony Express is rooted in actual events and real people, but over the years it's been made into legend, embellished by everyone from Mark Twain in Roughing It to the creators of classic film Westerns.

The truth is, the Pony Express lasted for less than two years, and was a financial disaster. Christopher Corbett explores fact and myth in his new book, Orphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony Express. NPR's Linda Wertheimer talks with Corbett about the real story of the Pony Express.

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As NPR's senior national correspondent, Linda Wertheimer travels the country and the globe for NPR News, bringing her unique insights and wealth of experience to bear on the day's top news stories.