|Tales of Wells Fargo|
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||201 (list of episodes)|
|Original release||March 18, 1957 –|
June 2, 1962
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.
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 gelding 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.
Main article: List of Tales of Wells Fargo episodes
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Rank||Average viewership (in millions)||Run Time||Color|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||14||March 18, 1957||July 8, 1957||3||14.8||30 min||black & white|
|2||38||September 9, 1957||May 26, 1958||7||13.3||30 min||black & white|
|3||39||September 8, 1958||June 15, 1959||Not in top 30||N/A||30 min||black & white|
|4||37||September 7, 1959||May 30, 1960||Not in top 30||N/A||30 min||black & white|
|5||39||September 5, 1960||July 10, 1961||Not in top 30||N/A||30 min||black & white|
|6||34||September 30, 1961||June 2, 1962||Not in top 30||N/A||60 min||color|
Nat Holt was the producer of Tales of Wells Fargo, and Les Martinson was the director. N. B. Stone Jr. was the writer. It initially was broadcast on Mondays from 8:30 to 9 p.m. Eastern Time. Pall Mall and General Foods were the sponsors.
A review of the series's first episode in the trade publication Variety described the show as "strictly formula, with none of the characterization or human values that have embellished the better class of TV westerns to date." It said that Robertson seemed "authoritative enough" in his role but compared the overall product to the lesser of two films in a double feature. In summary the review said that the show was better suited for syndication because "network exposure implies the willingness to depart from the routine."
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.
Timeless Media Group released the first two seasons on DVD in Region 1.
|DVD name||Ep #||Release date|
|The Complete First and Second Seasons||52||October 25, 2011|
For its first two years, the series was in the top 10 of the Nielsen Ratings. During the 1957–58 season, it was ranked number three, and during the 1958–59 season, it was ranked number seven.
The television series also spawned a number of publications for young readers, including the hardcover book Danger at Dry Creek (Golden Press, 1959), and a series of Dell Comics and Little Golden Books. One of the artists who created this comic-book adaptation was Russ Heath.