Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tales of Wells Fargo

“Jim Hardie, Wells Fargo.” That’s how Dale Robertson, star of the TV series, introduced himself. The show ran from 1957 to 1962. Somewhere in there the Marx toy company issued the Tales of Wells Fargo playset, which included a plastic stagecoach and a block-long tin-litho storefront. In real life, Wells Fargo got into the stage line business in 1857, joining with other banks to form the Overland Mail Company. Their stages ran twice-a-week between St. Louis and San Francisco. By the time of the Civil War, Wells Fargo controlled the central stretch of the route, running from Virginia City to Salt Lake City. By 1866 they’d taken over the whole shebang from Nebraska to California, with off-shoots to Montana and Idaho. The company is still around, still using the stagecoach in its advertising, and still gobbling up competitors.


David Cranmer said...

Wells Fargo is a show I've never seen. I'm working my way through Bat Masterson and getting a kick out of it. Apparently, they sold minature Masterson canes and derby hats for kiddies in the day.

Cap'n Bob said...

I don't have a Jim Hardie figure. My birthday isn't that far off, either. Hint-hint.

The first bank account I had after leaving the Army and moving to California was at Wells Fargo. The San Jose branch had a gorgeous stage coach in the lobby. But the bank proved to be just another heartless institution and I left it for good within the year.

Evan Lewis said...

David - they surely did. I had the cane, hat and a short-barreled Hubley Remington .38 that came in a set. James Reasoner even had a vest. You can see him wearing it, along with his derby hat, over at Rough Edges. Pics of the cane will be posted here soon.

Cap'n - I banked with them too until about 10 years ago. It was fun seeing the stagecoach on the window, but they started charging piss-ant fees for every little transaction.

Jack said...

I remember 'Tales Of Wells Fargo', Frank Gruber, and Dale Robertson as Jim Hardie. Belle Starr, Sam Bass and John Wesley Hardin with his swivel holster. Jim got involved with a load of real-life legends of the west. Never missed an episode. Had the book, too, but old age has killed it.