One of the iconic symbols of Death Valley is of the Twenty Mule Teams and the wagons they pulled. These "big teams" consisted of eighteen mules and two horses, and the wagons were filled with 9 metric tons of borax from the Harmony Borax Works. They made a difficult 165 mile, ten day trip across primitive roads in the Mojave Desert to the nearest railroad, in the town of Mojave.
The Twenty Mule teams only ran for six years (1883 - 1889), but the image of them lingers. This is partially due to 20-Mule-Team Borax Soap, and the popular Death Valley Days radio and TV program (hosted in part by Ronald Reagan).
This wagon was photographed in front of the Furnace Creek Ranch. One other wagon exists, that at the Harmony Borax Works.