The Secret of Shadow Ranch takes place at Shadow Ranch in Arizona. Nancy is supposed to be vacationing with her friends Bess and George at the Rawley’s Ranch, but Uncle Ed is bitten by a rattlesnake, and Bess and George couldn’t fly in on account of bad weather and airline problems. Meanwhile, there’s lots of weird accidents happening at Shadow Ranch, exactly the same time as a phantom horse starts riding up. So it’s up to Nancy to figure out what’s going on at the Ranch. Has Dirk Valentine’s horse come back for revenge? Or is it just bad luck?
Shorty Thurmond—He’s the cook at Shadow Ranch, and he loves to gossip. He’s been looking for gold recently around Shadow Ranch. Could he be trying to scare off the Rawleys so he can look for Dirk Valentine’s treasure?
Tex Britten—He’s the horse wrangler at Shadow Ranch. He’s not exactly personable, and his sister seems to have a bad relationship with the Rawleys. Could he be working with his sister to send the ranch into disaster?
Mary Yazzi—She runs a store by Shadow Ranch. She’s part Native American, and seems to have it out for the Rawleys. With her horse expertise, could she be sending out the phantom horse to scare the Rawleys into selling her their ranch?
Last but not least…
Dave Gregory—He’s the ranch foreman. He’s very polite, and is very cute. Could he be using his looks to try and cause some harm for the Rawleys?
Picking up the vegetables. I would say I messed that part up every single time, and I was always getting yelled at for it. That was kind of annoying.
Constantly getting yelled at for doing something wrong in my chores. That was really annoying.
The maze nearing the ending. Even with a walkthrough, I always get lost. I’ll never figure that out.
One of the puzzles dealing with the favorite flowers never makes sense. I have no idea how you figure out every single flower, and which order they go in. Every single time I play this game, I need a walkthrough or a large spoiler for it. Normally, after playing a game at least five times, I can figure out the complicated puzzle. This one, however, always baffles me.
In this game, you were trying to figure out who was causing all the accidents at Shadow Ranch, but you were also involved with a love story between an outlaw and his girlfriend using old love letters. You were never bored in this game, and there was quite a bit of romance in it.
Horses! You rode horses, did barrel racing, and fed them. That was quite fun.
Between those two features, the love story and the horses, this truly was a “Western” game. You were in the Wild Wild West, and it showed, particularly with the ghost town.
Some Interesting Points
You met Charleena Purcell for the first time in this game. You deal with her in a few other games.
Baking! Need I say more? (I love baking). I didn’t like dealing with the measurement conversions though.
Nancy wanted to find out what note Dirk Valentine left for his girlfriend, Francis. Regretfully, it was in the jail cell. Let’s just see what some bank robbers have to say about that….
Tex got mad at me quite a few times when I forget to put the bridle away. Apparently, I’m not a good cowgirl… 😦
I can certainly see why this is considered one of the “classic” Nancy Drew games, and why it’s a fan favorite. There were so many things to do in this game. There was a love story in it, and you rode horses! It combined everything I think of when I think of the Wild West into one game. It’s not my favorite game because of the chores, one of the puzzles, and the maze at the end, but I can understand why other people really like it.
Here’s the trailer for the game: