Welcome to Texas, 1867, where modern-day time-travellers find themselves struggling to get a real-life ranch up and running.  Viewers will watch the drama unfold in Texas Ranch House, an eight-part series narrated by native Texan and actor Randy Quaid.

Transplanted into the actual living and working conditions of the era, outfitted with period tools, technology and clothing, a brave family and a diverse group of cowboys-at-heart discover how the myth of the American West meshes with reality – and what the saddle-sore, rope-burned, and sun-blistered ranch life was really like.  Amid a roasting Texas summer, the group experiences the life of the American cowboy – building corrals, herding cattle, and passing nights under the stars – while tending to their livestock and their daily needs.

At the centre of the new Texas Ranch House community is the Cooke family of five from California and their 25 year old appointed servant, Maura, a well-read and widely-travelled Washington D.C. native.  The other valiant vaqueros, or cowboys, of Texas Ranch House include Ignacio (“Nacho”), 52, a native Puerto Rican now living in New York; Robby, 35, a USDA cattle inspector; Stan, 56, a retired colonel living in New Mexico; and 22 year old Ian from Arizona.

The group’s adventures in roughin’ it are expanded for viewers by the series’ companion website www.pbs.org/ranchhouse which launched in spring 2006.  Essays by scholars and series consultants provide historical context and loggers-on will gain further insight into the challenges of 19th century ranch life and get unique perspectives of the experience through excerpts from video diaries.  Interviews with producers, behind-the-scenes photos, lesson plans and other teacher resources are also lassoed into the online component of Texas Ranch House.

Texas Ranch House is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York and Britain’s Wall To Wall Television.  Luis Barreto is series producer; Jody Sheff for Thirteen and Leanne Klein and Diane Best for Wall To Wall are executive producers.  William R. Grant is executive in charge for Thirteen.