How the West Was Fun

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How the West Was Fun
How the West Was Fun.jpg
Directed by Stuart Margolin
Produced by Mark Bacino
Adria Later
Written by Jurgen Wolff
Starring Mary-Kate Olsen
Ashley Olsen
Martin Mull
Patrick Cassidy
Peg Phillips
Music by Richard Bellis
Cinematography Richard Leiterman
Edited by David Blangsted
Distributed by - USA -
American Broadcasting Company
Warner Bros.
- Germany -
ProSieben Television
Release dates
  • November 19, 1994 (1994-11-19)
Running time
96 min
Country United States
Language English

How the West Was Fun is a 1994 TV movie starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.


Twin girls Jessica and Suzy (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) live with their father, Stephen (Patrick Cassidy) in the city. They have a dream about somebody saying "This town ain't big enough for the three of us" and having a shootout but argue who makes their move first. One day, they receive a letter from their godmother Natty (Phillips) inviting them to a dude ranch. Natty, not knowing about their mother's death, wants their mother to come help her at the ranch. Natty is having financial problems because the ranch has too few paying visitors and, although she has offers, Natty does not want to sell the ranch. The girls try to ask their dad's uptight boss, "The Dragonlady" (Ms. Plaskett), for their dad's vacation time, only to get him fired. They lie and say that The Dragonlady said that they could go. The girls and their father go to the ranch and attempt to help Natty.

As they arrive they meet George Tailfeathers (Cardinal), Natty's friendly but mysterious Native American ranch foreman, and the three become fast friends. But Natty's not-too-bright son Bart Gafooley (Mull) immediately condescends to and patronizes the girls. Jessica and Suzy's deceased mother's horse, Lightning, leads them to their mother's secret hideout. They find half of a stone owl and a bear, plus their mom's diary which tells how Bart had once tried to set fire to the ranch, and about Bart's secret hideout in a place called "The Bear's Mouth". As the girls finish reading, they see smoke and start running towards it, thinking it's another fire but they find out it's Bart burning papers. The girls lie to him that a piece of paper landed on the roof so they can find out what they are. They find out that Bart has been turning people away from the ranch. Trying to take a paper to Natty to show what Bart's doing, they are chased by Bart who falls in the pig sty and gets covered in mud. Bart tears up the paper and snarls, "This ranch ain't big enough for the three of us", which brings the girls to a conclusion that Bart was the one in the dream.

Right before Bart can do any more, George backs them up with a riding lesson. At lunch, despite Bart's orders not to, the girls convince Natty to fix up the ranch and open it again. Later, Bart finds out that Stephen is fired and is about to tell him the truth but gives the girls a chance to tell them themselves. Despite Natty's offers, Stephen turns down her job offerings. Later, the girls find a hidden trapdoor under a stuffed bear (The Bear's Mouth) and go inside and find out that Bart is selling the ranch to make Gafooleyland Theme Park. Before Natty is about to sign the deed to the ranch to Bart, the girls convince her what Bart is up to. Heartbroken, she orders him off her land or else he'd "get a good spanking".

Meanwhile, Stephen tries to get a loan but is turned down. What he doesn't know is that the bank is already with Bart on the whole deal. That night, the girls run off to Denver to convince Leo McRugger, the guy whom Bart is selling the ranch to, to not go through with the deal. Their offers are so interesting, McRugger and his executives decide to come down for a week just to see if the place is actually what the girls are talking about. The ranch is fixed up with the help of George, Stephen, Natty, the girls, and Laura Forrester (Greene) Steven's girlfriend. The activities are set up. However, every activity is sabotaged by Bart. Just when all is lost, the girls decide to find a lost treasure since they have a map. But first, they trap Bart so he can't do any more damage. The girls and everyone else find the gold, which turns out to be Fool's Gold, but still pleases McRugger and his executives. He agrees to spare the ranch.

As they head to the river, they are confronted by Bart. Bart tries to escape in a canoe. The girls go after him only to be grabbed by him and taken down the river. Bart heads them down rapids and then realizes that they're headed for a dam. Down the river, the girls see a rope hanging off a bridge. They grab it and hang on: "Hasta La Vista, Bart!" "HEY!!!!!" Bart yells and gets mad as he plunges down the dam, not dying but getting severely injured and forced to watch the people dance. Pretty soon, the girls write their own diary...



How the West Was Fun was filmed in the Canadian Rockies, one hour west of Calgary, Alberta at Rafter Six Ranch Resort. Shots in the city were done within Calgary, including a ride on Calgary Transit's C-Train.


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