I watched Boys’ Ranch because it was described as being a baseball movie. And it is for the first few minutes.
Dan Walker (James Craig) is a baseball player who learns that he’s going to be benched for the rest of the season. He used to be great but his time has passed and there are younger players who deserve a shot so, with no hard feelings, Dan announces his retirement. His two biggest fans — teenage delinquents Knuckles (Skip Homeier) and Hank (Darryl Hickman) — give him a knife so that he will always remember them when he returns to his ranch in Texas. Just before Dan is going to leave, he learns that the knife was stolen! Knuckles and Hank have been arrested and they’re going to end up in juvenile hall! Dan wins their freedom by offering to take them to Texas with him.
That’s where the baseball stuff ends. The rest of the movie is about Dan and his wife, Susan (Dorothy Patrick), running a ranch where they reform juvenile delinquents by teaching them how to take care of horses and how to be responsible. At first, the locals aren’t happy about having a bunch of bad city kid in town but Dan wins them over. His toughest challenge though is trying to reform Butch (Jackie “Butch” Jenkins), who is tough and a bad influence on the other boys.
Obviously, I was disappointed when Boys’ Ranch turned out to have very little baseball action. That’s the whole reason I was watching the movie! It could have used some more baseball action because the ranch action wasn’t that interesting. When the movie was made, I bet the idea of sending out of control teens to a ranch was a new one but today, it’s not that unique and everyone’s heard all the horror stories about what really goes on at those ranches. Of course, the bad boys in Boys’ Ranch didn’t really seem that bad either. They all just needed someone to tell them to drop the attitude and clean the stalls. Those boys may have had problems but at least they never tried to throw the World Series!
I miss baseball.