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All's Wells that ends well


Tales of Wells Fargo TV star Dale Robertson bid goodbye to his Yukon home and Hollywood memorabilia in a recent auction.

Jerry Bohnen May 30th, 2012

Friends say the only reason Dale Robertson continued acting in Hollywood was to get back to Oklahoma and raise horses on the Haymaker Farms ranch he built north of Yukon.

Dale Robertson
Oklahoma History Center

He did just that, too, until he was forced to sell the ranch and its horses years ago. At one time, Robertson accumulated 235 horses; some of the mares had five world champions.

Now, the onetime star of movies and television has sold his home and most of his personal belongings. Robertson, soon to be 89, now lives in a nursing home and was not on hand for the sale. His wife, Susan, spent a short time at the auction, then left before the sale concluded, driving off as buyers carted away their purchases.

“I was with him the night they had the auction for his ranch,” recalled Cecil Tippin, a longtime friend of the actor. “Dale was playing his baby grand piano, got up, walked over and looked out his bay window and said, ‘It’s all gone.’”

Born in Harrah, Robertson was wounded twice in World War II. He was strikingly handsome, so much so that movie agents contacted him after they came across a photo of him in the storefront window of a Los Angeles photography shop.

After the war, Robertson tried his luck in the movies. He eventually made 63 films, mostly in 1950sera B westerns. His biggest success came with TV’s Tales of Wells Fargo, in which he starred as Wells Fargo agent Jim Hardie, from 1957 to 1962. Other roles on the small screen came with Dynasty and J.J. Starbuck.

A few hundred people attended the May 19 auction of Robertson’s memorabilia and belongings. Paintings, furniture, boxes of books, pictures, horse magazines, canes, kitchen goods, clothes, old movie scripts, stills from his films and cowboy boots — they all went to the highest bidders.

Merle Arens
Jerry Bohnen

“Sold ’em $32 and a half your way!” shouted the auctioneer after selling two high-brimmed hats.

Merle Arens proudly held up two framed pictures of Robertson he bought. “Lucky — oh, yeah!” said Arens, a fan. “Especially for $8.”

Tippin was more rueful about the proceedings.

“He’s one of a kind, Dale is,” he said. “Never met a person that had anything unkind to say about him. If you’ve never known Dale, you’ve missed a lot.”

 
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