Tales of Wells Fargo is an American western television series starring Dale Robertson that ran from 1957 to 1962 on NBC. Produced by Revue Productions, the series aired in a half-hour format until its final season when it expanded to an hour and switched from black and white to color.
|Tales of Wells Fargo|
|Created by||James Brooks|
|Directed by||Earl Bellamy|
William F. Claxton
Lewis R. Foster
Leslie H. Martinson
R. G. Springsteen
|Theme music composer||Mort Greene|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||201 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes (1957–1961)|
60 minutes (1961–1962)
|Production companies||Overland Productions|
|Picture format||Black and white (1957–1961)|
|Original release||March 18, 1957 –|
June 2, 1962
Set in the 1870s and 1880s, the series starred Oklahoma native Dale Robertson as Wells Fargo special agent Jim Hardie, noted at the time as "the left-handed gun". The character was fictional, but the series' development was influenced by the biography of Wells Fargo detective Fred J. Dodge. Agent Hardie was shown working cases in many areas of the Old West, occasionally interacting with legendary outlaws such as Jesse James and Belle Starr, as well as with other American historical figures. Hardie's own history was rarely discussed, but one episode gave a detailed backstory, portraying him as a Louisiana-born drifter who almost became an outlaw before finding his true mission in life.
In the final season, when episodes were longer, Hardie was given a base of operations, in a town called Gloribee, and four regular supporting characters were added. Hardie usually rode a chestnut horse with a white blaze on his face and four white stockings. The horse actually belonged to Dale Robertson, and was named "Jubilee". In at least one episode, Jubilee came when Hardie whistled and called his name.
In the 1957 Christmas episode, titled "Laredo", Jim Hardie must track gunrunners across the United States/Mexican border in Laredo, Texas, a quest which keeps him from spending the holiday with friends as he had intended. Guest stars include Henry Rowland, Rodolfo Hoyos Jr., Karl Swenson and Pierre Watkin.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Run Time||Color|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||14||March 18, 1957||July 8, 1957||30 min||black & white|
|2||38||September 9, 1957||May 26, 1958||30 min||black & white|
|3||39||September 8, 1958||June 15, 1959||30 min||black & white|
|4||37||September 7, 1959||May 30, 1960||30 min||black & white|
|5||39||September 5, 1960||July 10, 1961||30 min||black & white|
|6||34||September 30, 1961||June 2, 1962||60 min||color|
The pilot for Tales of Wells Fargo originally premiered as an episode of the anthology series Schlitz Playhouse of Stars.
In the 1960–61 season, Wells Fargo was scheduled opposite ABC's detective series Surfside 6 and CBS's new sitcom Bringing Up Buddy, starring Frank Aletter. Wells Fargo and Surfside 6 survived another year, but Bringing Up Buddy was cancelled. Wells Fargo was the lead-in that year to a new NBC Western, Klondike starring Ralph Taeger and James Coburn, but that series, set in the gold rush town of Skagway, Alaska, survived only seventeen episodes.
|DVD name||Ep #||Release date|
|The Complete First and Second Seasons||52||October 25, 2011|
The television series also spawned a number of publications for young readers, including the hardcover book Danger at Dry Creek (Golden Press, 1959), a series of Dell Comics and Little Golden Books. One of the artists who created this comic book adaptation was Russ Heath.