Wild West



(1936, by Neill C. Wilson): In this classic Old West history author Wilson relates the story of business partners Henry Wells (1805–78) and William Fargo (1818–81), who incorporated Wells, Fargo & Co. in 1852, chronicling the successes and struggles they faced establishing their express service.

Wells Fargo: Advancing the American Frontier (1949, by Edward Hungerford): The author of this basic history of Wells Fargo was the editor of Wells Fargo Messenger magazine from 1912 to 1918.

Wells, Fargo Detective: A Biography of James B. Hume (1969, by Richard H. Dillon): This groundbreaking work was the first book about a Wells Fargo sleuth. Hume (1827–1904) was a gold miner and peace officer in California before joining the express company.

Under Cover for Wells Fargo: The Unvarnished Recollections of Fred Dodge (1969, by Fred Dodge): Posthumously published, detective Dodge’s memoir provides a wealth of information, albeit some of it wildly inaccurate. Contrary to his claims, for example, he never served in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, as a Wells Fargo agent.

Shotguns and Stagecoaches: The Brave Men Who Rode for Wells Fargo in the Wild West (2018, by John Boessenecker): Richard Dillon’s Hume bio, Dodge’s memoir and this book by Boessenecker (author of the 2012 book When Law Was in the Holster: The Frontier Life of Bob Paul) are the only extant histories about the company’s messengers and detectives. (See the full review on P. 84.)


Wells Fargo (1937): This Frank Lloyd film starring Joel McCrea depicts the fictional life of a young expressman working to expand Wells Fargo’s operations on the frontier. A huge commercial success, it helped cement the company’s reputation as an American institution.

(1957–62): This popular TV series details

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