Hardie's vacation is cut short when a stage disappears crossing the Rocking Horse Hills badlands. He backtracks its route and finds it left with a wealthy man's son and the young man's fiancee who are missing but no money was on the stage.
Jim Hardie likes to take his vacations in new places and has gone to the Dakota Territory. He is in Hill View on one side of the Rocking Horse Hills badlands escorting lady friend Caroline on a buggy ride when during their return Wells Fargo agent Frank Jeffers asks to see Jim. The stage from Prairie City which crosses the badlands is missing but was carrying no money. They agree Jim should backtrack the route to see if it broke down. Although he is shot at by three men in the badlands, he finds no trace of the stage. At Prairie City he learns it left with Billy Thompson, son of a wealthy rancher, and his fiancee Jeannie Wilcox. He decides to retrace the route following the stage wagon wheel tracks. He is roped by Chris, one of the three men he saw on the first trip. He breaks away and follows the man's horse to a ghost town where he finds the stage and trouble he is in. Written by
What were they carrying?
A sack of mail and two passengers - important passengers.
Billy Thompson and his lady friend from Boston. They're fixin' to be married as soon as they get to his pa's ranch the other side of Hillview.
Is that Big Ben Thompson's boy?
That's who. Folks claim Big Ben owns most of this here state.
They also claim the government tried to buy it back but couldn't meet his price.
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TALES OF WELLS FARGO was a western series than ran for a total of 200 episodes between 1957 and 1962. Dale Robertson plays the lead as Jim Hardee. Hardee is an agent for the stage and cargo hauling outfit. When something goes wrong he is the man they send to fix it.
This episode is the 11th of the series. Wells Fargo man, Hardee (Dale Robertson) is in the Dakota country when one of the local Wells Fargo stagecoaches goes missing. Robertson follows the same route the missing stage took and comes up on a trio of men, Jack Elam, Fred Carson and Glen Strange. The trio fire off several shots at Robertson and tell him to take off.
Of course such behaviour has the opposite reaction on our Wells Fargo Detective. Robertson simply uses a different trail and sneaks up on the lookout, Jack Elam. A brisk exchange of fists and Elam is quickly laid out. Robertson now follows the stagecoach tracks to an abandoned ghost town. The town had died out when the local gold strike petered out.
Robertson finds the stage and has a look around the town. He is however grabbed up by the other two outlaws, Strange and Carson. They are soon joined by a mad as a hornet Elam. Elam gives Robertson a few punches to the gut to make up for the beating he had received.
Robertson is now tossed in a room with two passengers off the missing stage. The two, Joyce Meadows and Harry Harvey Jr are being held for ransom. Harvey's father is a big time rancher with a fair sized bank account. Elam figures that Wells Fargo might add a few thousand to get Robertson back in breathing condition.
A ransom note is sent off to the town down the line. Robertson finds out from Harvey and Miss Meadows that Elam and his bunch had killed the stagecoach driver and guard. Robertson is of course not going to let this slide.
Robertson manages to break free of the room and leads Elam and group on a merry chase through the ghost town. Helping Robertson out is a big dust storm that has blown in. Robertson jumps Elam and disarms him. He then plugs the other two as they come out of the dust storm. Harvey and Meadows are released, Elam is tossed in the stage and all head back to the first town. Elam has a date with a long fall with a short piece of rope.
This is a fast moving episode with plenty of action. Direction is supplied by B-western vet, John English. Helping with the look of the episode is one time Oscar nominated cinematographer, John L Russell. Russell got his Oscar nod for Hitchcock's, PSYCHO.
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