Henry Wells (1805-78) and William Fargo (1818-81) first worked together when they broke the Post Office monopoly on mail service along the Erie Canal in the 1840s. In 1852 they incorporated Wells, Fargo & Company and went into the express business in California, carrying gold, letters, packages, and freight between the mining regions and the financial centers of the East. They registered the miners to receive deliveries, guarded the gold-dust shipments, apprehended stage robbers, recovered stolen gold and silver, and established a reliable, conservative banking house in the world's wickedest city, San Francisco. They survived the collapse of the mining industry, the great California panic of 1855, the depredations of bandits such as Rattlesnake Dick and Black Bart, the dominance of the railroads, and the San Francisco earthquake and fire. Acclaimed Western writer Ralph Moody tells the exciting story of Henry Wells and his drivers, messengers, and riders; his accountants, managers, and detectives; and how they built a lasting empire in a business most entrepreneurs thought too risky to try. Moody, author of more than a dozen books on Western subjects, gives an action-packed account that readers young and old will enjoy.