Tales of Wells Fargo
Dale Robertson as James "Jim" Whitcomb Hardie, 1958
Created by
Directed by
Theme music composer
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes201 (list of episodes)
  • Nat Holt
  • Earle Lyon
Running time
  • 30 minutes (1957–1961)
  • 60 minutes (1961–1962)
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseMarch 18, 1957 (1957-03-18) –
June 2, 1962 (1962-06-02)
Dale Robertson in 1959
Dale Robertson in 1959
Suzanne Lloyd, Jack Ging and Howard Keel in 1961
Dale Robertson in 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.[1][2]


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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]




Notable guest stars


Main article: List of Tales of Wells Fargo episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedRankAverage viewership (in millions)Run TimeColor
First airedLast aired
114March 18, 1957 (1957-03-18)July 8, 1957 (1957-07-08)314.8[5]30 minblack & white
238September 9, 1957 (1957-09-09)May 26, 1958 (1958-05-26)713.3[6]30 minblack & white
339September 8, 1958 (1958-09-08)June 15, 1959 (1959-06-15)Not in top 30N/A30 minblack & white
437September 7, 1959 (1959-09-07)May 30, 1960 (1960-05-30)Not in top 30N/A30 minblack & white
539September 5, 1960 (1960-09-05)July 10, 1961 (1961-07-10)Not in top 30N/A30 minblack & white
634September 30, 1961 (1961-09-30)June 2, 1962 (1962-06-02)Not in top 30N/A60 mincolor


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.[7]

Critical response

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."[7] 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.[7] In summary the review said that the show was better suited for syndication because "network exposure implies the willingness to depart from the routine."[7]



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.

Home media

Timeless Media Group released the first two seasons on DVD in Region 1.[8]

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,[9] and during the 1958–59 season, it was ranked number seven.[10]


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.[11]


  1. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 1003. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  2. ^ McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television: the Comprehensive Guide to Programming from 1948 to the Present. New York: Penguin Books. p. 901. ISBN 0-14-02-4916-8. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  3. ^ Lentz, Harris (1996). Western and Frontier Film and Television Credits 1903-1995: Section I. Actors and actresses. Section II. Directors, producers, and writers. McFarland. p. 56. ISBN 9780786402175 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Tales of Wells Fargo: The Branding Iron". Video Detective.
  5. ^ "TV Ratings: 1957-1958". ClassicTVguide.com. Retrieved March 31, 2023.
  6. ^ "TV Ratings: 1958-1959". ClassicTVguide.com. Retrieved March 31, 2023.
  7. ^ a b c d "Tales of Wells Fargo". Variety. March 20, 1957. p. 39. Retrieved July 2, 2023.
  8. ^ Lambert, David (September 9, 2011). "Tales of Wells Fargo – 'The Complete 1st and 2nd Seasons' 6-DVD Tin". TV Shows On DVD. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  9. ^ "TV Ratings: 1957–1958". classictvhits.com.
  10. ^ "TV Ratings: 1958–1959". classictvhits.com.
  11. ^ "Russ Heath". lambiek.net.