The Rancher’s Heart
James Ryan, a successful and respected Colorado rancher in the 1880s, catches young Mick O’Toole on his ranch with a gang of cattle rustlers. Rather than punishing the youth, James, known for his big heart, takes the boy and his sick mother into his home. While recuperating, Bridget O’Toole finds herself quickly falling in love with James. As James and Bridget, both proud and fiercely independent, battle their mutual affection for one another, they each find themselves facing their secret pasts. Bridget’s supposedly dead husband turns up alive and leading a gang of outlaws into town, while James must contend with a murder charge from years ago.
While this story includes plenty of conflict, lust, and adventure, it lacks a certain zest. Two massive gunfights raise little dust, and with a predictable and anticlimactic final showdown, the result is rather disappointing. Both James and Bridget lack personality and depth. Young Mick is perhaps the only well-developed character, with his struggle to become a man before his time. With its mundane characters and lackluster plot, The Rancher’s Heart adds nothing new to the genre.