Boys' Ranch (film)

Boys' Ranch is a 1946 American film about a fictional ex-professional baseball player, "Dan Walker", who starts a ranch in Texas for neglected and delinquent boys.[2] Promoted by MGM as a successor to its award-winning Boys Town hit of 1938, the film is loosely based on ex-wrestler Cal Farley's Boys Ranch near Amarillo, Texas. The film was shot on location near Amarillo.[3]

Boys' Ranch
Filming "Boy's Ranch. Amarillo, Texas.
Directed byRoy Rowland
Produced byRobert Sisk
Written byWilliam Ludwig
StarringButch Jenkins
James Craig
Skippy Homeier
Dorothy Patrick
Music byNathaniel Shilkret
CinematographyCharles Salerno Jr.
Edited byRalph E. Winters
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • July 18, 1946 (1946-07-18)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,502,000[1]


Dan Walker, having retired from professional baseball, is concerned about the plight of neglected youth in his Texas town and persuades a group of community leaders to start a livestock ranch as a resident facility for troubled and neglected boys, to develop good character and self-reliance in a wholesome outdoor environment. The men urge Walker to run the ranch and wealthy landowner Davis Banton agrees to permit use of a portion of his property to set up the ranch on a provisional basis.

Two of the boys, "Hank" and "Skippy", are the main protagonists. Hank is sincere and good-hearted, but repeatedly clashes with a cynical and devious Skippy, who mocks Hank as a "trusty". Skippy's misbehavior and thievery eventually cause the neighboring townspeople to call for the ranch's closing. The ongoing conflict between the two boys culminates in a fight in a cemetery when Hank tries to prevent Skippy from running away during a heavy rainstorm. Hank is rendered unconscious when he is knocked backwards and hits his head on a gravestone.

Later, after he learns that Hank never returned to the ranch and is missing, Skippy returns to the scene of the fight and discovers the still-unconscious Hank perilously close to drowning in the rising floodwaters. Braving the raging torrent of water, Skippy rescues Hank. Remorseful that his misbehavior has caused so much harm and nearly cost Hank his life, Skippy tearfully confesses to the thefts and returns the stolen items, his reform complete.[2]



The comedic element added by Jackie Jenkins as "Butch" was praised by Variety, which said his "every appearance is a guaranteed chuckle".[3] According to MGM records the movie earned $1,124,000 in the US and Canada and $378,000 elsewhere, for total revenue of $1,502,000.[1] Boys' Ranch occasionally airs on Turner Classic Movies.


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. Boys' Ranch (1946) synopsis, Turner Classic Movies (retrieved 2018-06-30).
  3. Thames, Stephanie. Boys' Ranch, (Retrieved June 19, 2019).
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