|Index||3 reviews in total|
Tales of Well Fargo was a well-written, satisfying western drama that
followed the exploits of Jim Hardie, Wells Fargo Agent. In early
episodes, he served as narrator/agent & later became a rancher and
part-time Wells Fargo agent.
Dale Robertson was very good in this series, with a toughness tempered with a sense of humor. The format allowed for a number of interesting stories and characters. I haven't seen this one on DVD yet, but look forward to owning the shows when available.
William Demarest (of My Three Sons) was especially good as a supporting co-star. Check this one out, its good, clean fun !
If Dale Robertson had come along about ten years earlier he would have
been a great cowboy hero and Herbert J. Yates no doubt would have had
him in his stable of western heroes. But he came along just as the B
western was going out of business on the big screen and quite frankly
he was a much better actor than some of the B cowboys. He did some
serious B films, never quite getting stardom on the big screen, though
some of the films were good.
The small screen treated him better with the Tales Of Wells Fargo series in which Dale's character of Jim Hardie narrated his exploits in tracking down those who would rob from his employer the Wells Fargo company.
I think the series was good because it called for Robertson to be a detective as well as a cowboy hero. The scripts were intelligently written given the constraints of developing characters in only thirty minute episodes for the most part.
In the last season the show was expanded to sixty minutes, but the producers also decided to give Robertson's character Jim Hardie a ranch and something of a home life. It never seems to cease, a perfectly good format, tinkered with and then cancellation.
Still Tales Of Wells Fargo gave Dale Robertson his career role, at least the one this fan remembers him best for. And he was a left handed draw, the most well known one on television until Michael Landon as Little Joe Cartwright came along.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ah yes, another classic TV Western I used to watch regularly as a kid
back in the late Fifties. Courtesy of Timeless Video, I've been able to
catch up on the adventures of Wells Fargo special agent Jim Hardie over
the past few months.
The series ran from March, 1957 to September, 1962, the sixth and final season expanding to a one hour format after leaving the normal Monday night time slot (8:30 to 9:00PM) and airing on Saturdays (7:30 to 8:30 PM). The series opener offered an interesting element; on the barrel of Hardie's gun were imprinted the words 'Be not afraid of any man that walks beneath the sky. Though you be weak and he be strong, I will equalize.'
In that first episode, the guest star was Chuck Connors who a year later would appear as 'The Rifleman' and begin his own five season Western series run. Interestingly, Connors portrayed an outlaw, and the showdown occurred between him and Hardie while Connors was perched on top of a telegraph pole! Connors returned nine episodes later as the outlaw Sam Bass, with another familiar face as part of the Bass gang - future Little Joe Michael Landon, wearing a mustache! In another Season I episode, 'Leave it to Beaver's Dad, Hugh Beaumont shows up as the outlaw Jesse James, along with one of the Dead End/East Side Kids, Bobby Jordan.
That's a good part of the fun watching these old shows today, and that's seeing who shows up in the stories. Another episode had Robert Vaughn as Billy the Kid, and if you were around at the time, it seemed like the prolific character actors of the era showed up in just about every TV Western at one time or another. Names like Leo Gordon, Claude Akins, Denver Pyle, Paul Brinegar, Don C. Harvey and Edgar Buchanan just to name a few. A few others like Dan Blocker (Bonanza), Jack Elam (The Dakotas) and Steve McQueen (Wanted:Dead or Alive) wound up starring in their own series, along with Connors and Landon mentioned earlier.
The thing I liked best about Dale Robertson's character Jim Hardie is that he could never be persuaded by arguments of moral equivalency. Hardie was the personification of doing the right thing at all times, he couldn't be bribed or sweet talked, and his word was bond with whoever he dealt with. But you know, that was a different time and place, and individuals like Jim Hardie seem to be a rare commodity today, especially in entertainment media. I guess I'm being a little wistful and nostalgic here, just thinking back on the good old days.
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