The Secret of Shadow Ranch is the 10th computer game in the series and is based on the 5th book of the Nancy Drew series The Secret of Shadow Ranch. In this adventure, Nancy Drew has been invited to the eponymous ranch, which belongs to relatives of her friends, Bess Marvin and George Fayne.

A ghostly glowing horse has been seen riding up to the fence, rearing up, and galloping away, vanishing into the night. Every time this happens, something goes wrong. For example, a rattlesnake appears in the house, the water pipe explodes, etc.

Shorty, the cook, seems to think that the strange things happening are to do with the ghost of an outlaw's horse come back from the 1800s. This game takes place in Arizona. This is the first Nancy Drew game with a smaller interface menu.

Plot Edit

Nancy goes to a Ranch in Arizona for a vacation with her best friends, Bess and George. On the first day there, Nancy discovers that the owners of the ranch, Mr. and Mrs. Rawley are at the hospital because Mr. Rawley was bitten by a rattlesnake. Then Nancy finds out that Bess and George are stuck at the airport due to mechanical problems. The ranch hands are the foreman Dave Gregory, the cook Shorty Thurmond, and the cowpoke Tex Britten. Mary Yazzie is the local store owner.

Soon Nancy finds out of a legend from the 1880's about an outlaw, Dirk Valentine who was involved with the daughter of the old owner at the ranch, Frances Humber. Dirk was caught and executed but left a secret fortune and numerous clues for Frances to locate it. While the ranch is enjoying a barbecue that night, the phantom horse appears and the pump house for the ranch water is blown up.

Nancy discovers that Tex is sensitive discussing his sister, Jane Nash. Nancy investigates the house further, and learns of a bank robbery from Sheriff Hernandez. Nancy realizes that Dirk's valuable treasure for Frances may be a reason someone is trying to chase Mr. and Mrs. Rawley off the ranch. Throughout the day, Nancy visits a ghost town, encounters a rattlesnake, and basically tries to go on this treasure hunt. Dave grows fond of Nancy and tries to ask her out. Nancy also discovers that Tex and Mary are involved with each other. The day ends with the phantom horse's appearance once again and the electrical wires to the ranch are cut.

Next day, Nancy wheedles information out of Mary, learning she is in love with Tex. While sleuthing into ghost town Nancy is attacked and locked inside Dirk's jail cell, but subsequently escapes. Nancy finds more clues and determines the location of treasure. The culprit follows her and confronts Nancy and she realizes that the culprit is involved with the local bank robberies. The culprit then tries to kill Nancy, but is tricked into trap by Nancy. The game ends with the Sheriff arresting the culprit and Bess and George finally get to the ranch.

Characters Edit

Dave Gregory

Dave is the Ranch Foreman. Always polite, somewhat shy, Dave is a man of frustratingly few word who is mainly concerned with doing his job and doing it well. He grows very fond of Nancy over the course of the game.

Tex Britten

Tex is an old-fashioned cowpoke. His weathered face and cynical attitude reflect the fact that he feels much more at home with horses and cattle than with humans. He dislikes city folk, and enjoys putting Nancy in situations that he thinks she can't handle.

Shorty Thurmond

The ranch cook, Shorty is more talkative than the other two ranch hands combined. He loves to gossip and for that reason loves having Nancy around. Because he also loves to cook despite doing it badly, and takes great pride in the food he serves. An admitted opportunist, he's always looking for ways to get rich quick, but has failed every time.

Mary Yazzie

A Native American who runs a local store on land that is adjacent to Shadow Ranch. Mary knows all about the history of the area, especially as it pertains to the ancient Pueblo people who once inhabited the nearby cliff dwellings. She has repeated offers to purchase a portion of the Rawley's land, allegedly in search of petrified wood, but her offers are continuously rejected.

Bet Rawley and Ed Rawley

The friendly owners of Shadow Ranch, who recently sold their store to buy the property. Before Nancy's visit, Uncle Ed is hospitalized and they subsequently can only be reached by cell phone. They are Bess and George's aunt and uncle.

Charleena Purcell

An author of the best-selling novel Like Wind Through My Heart. She is the go-to person for information on the history surrounding Shadow Ranch and Dirk Valentine. She can only be reached through phone.

Sheriff Hernandez

Hernandez is the sheriff who is also investigating on what happened to Ed Rawley and the pump house. He locked up one of the buildings in the ghost town where Nancy investigates. He is an unseen phone character but Nancy said she saw him while he was investigating the pump house. Hernandez's phone number can be seen in the ranch's refrigirator.

Jane Nash

An unseen and unheard character. She is the sister of Tex Britten. She worked for the Rawleys when they still have their dress shop. Bet Rawley fired her because she was lazy. She is mentioned in the game by the Rawleys, Tex and Dave.

19th Century People of Shadow RanchEdit

Below are 19th Century people of Shadow Ranch:

Dirk Valentine

An outlaw who fell in love with Frances Humber, a girl who lived at Shadow Ranch in the 19th century. He has given love letters to Frances. He also gives letters to Frances that leads to his treasure. He died because he got hung in Dry Creek, which is now a ghost town. He is always mentioned by Shorty, the cook.

Frances Humber

A girl who lived at Shadow Ranch and Dirk's sweetheart. She had been banned from seeing Dirk by her father because Dirk was an outlaw. She never found the treasure because her father always intercepted the letters sent by Dirk. She lived the rest of her life in Ohio. Dave Gregory's (the current Shadow Ranch foreman) great aunt is related to Frances Humber.

Meryl Humber

Frances' father who arrested and hanged Dirk. He intercepted the letters that Dirk always wrote to Frances that leads to the treasure. Frances refers to him as the vilest man ever born.

Cashmeer Valentine

Dirk's father who disowned him after he became an outlaw.

Eldrich Humber

Frances' grandfather who owned the chest that is located in Mary Yazzie's gift shop.

Abigail Humber

Frances' grandmother who also owned the chest located in Mary's shop.

Ellie Humber

Frances' cousin who received a letter from Frances saying that if Ellie finds the treasure its all hers. Dave Gregory(the current foreman of Shadow Ranch) is her great nephew.

Cappy Munger

The leading citizen in Dry Creek in the 1800s. He owned a restaurant where Dirk and Frances' ate Frances' favorite crackers.

Second ChancesEdit

As with all Nancy Drew games, in this game there are many fatal accidents such as:

  • Picking unripe vegetables for Shorty twice.
  • Trying to take an egg from the chicken with the warning sign over it.
  • Leading the horse to the riding area before getting permission from Tex.
  • Leaving the stables while the horse is still saddled up.
  • Not taking the saddle off Bob when coming back from exploring.
  • Starting a fire.
  • Overbaking a cake.
  • Making the chickens or horses sick.
  • Not fixing the hole in the fence and letting the coyotes eat all the chickens.
  • Get bitten by a rattlesnake in the garden.
  • Get stung by a scorpion.
  • Knocking the key for the jail cell down the hole.
  • Failing to escape and trap the villain in the maze.

However, if the player makes a mistake, they may click on "Second Chance" at the main menu and it will take them back to the place before they made that mistake.


  • Nancy Drew -- Lani Minella
  • Bess Marvin/Frances Humber -- Abby Murray
  • George Fayne -- Patty Pomplun
  • Frank Hardy -- Wayne Rawley
  • Joe Hardy -- Rob Jones
  • Tex Britten -- David S. Hogan
  • Mary Yazzie -- Amy Broomhall
  • Shorty Thurmond/Mineral Map Guy/Radio Voice/Charleena's Assistant -- Jonah von Spreecken
  • Dave Gregory -- Stephen Hando
  • Charleena Purcell/Radio Voice -- Julie Rawley
  • Bet Rawley and Ed Rawley -- Shannon Kipp and John Nelson
  • Sheriff Hernandez/Radio Voice/Dirk Valentine -- Gary Hoffman
  • Meryl Humber -- Max Holechek


  • One of the newspapers in the den says "Golden Gate Gazette" which is from Message in a Haunted Mansion.
  • Take a good look a Shorty's mineral deposit map. It has mine names referencing Secret of the Scarlet Hand (I.E SonnyJoon Ridge, Rutherford Peak, and Kringle Mountain.)
  • At the end of the game with the letter part, the picture of Nancy riding a horse shown the rider that was Nancy was blackened out and the picture of Nancy, Bess and George had the riders (who where Nancy, Bess and George) was covered by Dave's hand. This is most likely a reference as to how Nancy, George and Bess's bodies and face are never shown in the games with the exception of Secret of the Scarlet Hand when Nancy talks to Joanna and her body is seen, but only her backside. The only characters to actually have been fully seen so far are George and Bess in Ransom of the Seven Ships.
  • Charleena Purcell will be shown in person at Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Danger on Deception Island
Nancy Drew Computer Games Succeeded by
Curse of Blackmoor Manor

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