McCrea plays Ramsay MacKay, who is instrumental in helping the company expand its services to St. Louis and ultimately San Francisco. Dee plays Justine, his supportive wife, who endures long separations as her husband criss-crosses the country, but then sees her marriage flounder due to conflict over the Civil War.
This is an interesting, well-made film directed by Frank Lloyd, who was something of a specialist in historical epics and costume dramas. (There's more about his career in a recent post on 1941's THE LADY FROM CHEYENNE.) Lloyd keeps the pace moving along nicely, even when the characters must age over the decades. Lloyd worked again with Frances Dee on her next film, IF I WERE KING (1938), also starring Ronald Colman.
Of course, Lloyd was fortunate to have a pair of fine actors in the lead roles. McCrea and Dee, who had previously appeared together in THE SILVER CORD (1933) and ONE MAN'S JOURNEY (1933), married the same year those films were released, and by the time of WELLS FARGO they were parents of two sons, Jody and David. It's a real treat for those who love the actors to watch them acting together. They're both sympathetic, even when their characters are not in harmony with one another, and many of their scenes are quite touching.
McCrea and Dee would later appear together in the very fine Western FOUR FACES WEST (1948), a film which deserves to be better known.
WELLS FARGO has an interesting supporting cast, including a delightful young Robert Cummings as a giddily lovestruck prospector and Peggy Stewart as McCrea and Dee's teenage daughter. Johnny Mack Brown, Lloyd Nolan, Ralph Morgan, Henry O'Neill, and Harry Davenport are among the other faces in the large cast.
This film runs 97 minutes. Some sources indicate the original release version ran 116 minutes.
The black and white cinematography was by Theodor Sparkuhl, who had a lengthy career before his death at the age of 51 in 1946. Location shooting took place at numerous sites, including in Northern California.
Sadly, this Paramount film, like so many others from that studio, is not available on DVD or video. My thanks to Kristina for enabling me to see it!
November 2015 Update: WELLS FARGO is now available on DVD in the Universal Vault Series.