Nancy Drew: The Secret of Shadow Ranch

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Nancy Drew: The Secret of Shadow Ranch
Nancy Drew - The Secret of Shadow Ranch Cover Art.jpeg
Developer(s)Her Interactive
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
  • NA: August 30, 2004
Mode(s)Single player

The Secret of Shadow Ranch is the tenth installment in the Nancy Drew point-and-click adventure game series by Her Interactive. The game is available for play on Microsoft Windows platforms. It has an ESRB rating of E for moments of mild violence and peril. Players take on the first-person view of fictional amateur sleuth Nancy Drew and must solve the mystery through interrogation of suspects, solving puzzles, and discovering clues. There are two levels of gameplay, Junior and Senior detective modes, each offering a different difficulty level of puzzles and hints, however neither of these changes affect the actual plot of the game. The game is based on the best-selling Nancy Drew book of all time, The Secret at Shadow Ranch (1931).[1][2]


Nancy Drew is invited to Shadow Ranch in Arizona for a vacation. On the first day there, Nancy discovers that the owners of the ranch, Ed and Bet Rawley, are gone. The previous evening, a glowing horse came galloping up to the ranch, causing a huge commotion, and shortly after, Mr. Rawley was bitten by a venomous snake and rushed to the hospital.

Dirk Valentine, an outlaw from the 1880s, was romantically involved with the sheriff's daughter, Frances Humber, who lived at Shadow Ranch. Dirk was arrested and eventually hanged, but local legend says that Dirk's horse has come back to avenge its master and that misfortune will befall whoever sets eyes on it.



  • Nancy Drew - Nancy is an eighteen-year-old amateur detective from the fictional town of River Heights in the United States. She is the only playable character in the game, which means the player must solve the mystery from her perspective.
  • Dave Gregory - Dave is the ranch foreman. Always polite and very shy, Dave is a man of frustratingly few words 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 the ranch's head wrangler. 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. 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 - Mary is a Native American who runs a store on the land adjacent to Shadow Ranch. She 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 repeatedly offered to purchase a portion of the Rawley's land, allegedly in search of petrified wood, but her offers have been continuously rejected.


  • 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 - Shannon Kipp
  • Ed Rawley - John Nelson
  • Sheriff Hernandez / Radio Voice / Dirk Valentine - Gary Hoffman
  • Meryl Humber - Max Holechek [3]

Nancy Drew Mobile Mysteries: Shadow Ranch[edit]

In early 2011, Her Interactive released an app called Shadow Ranch under their new subseries of Nancy Drew games entitled Mobile Mysteries. Shadow Ranch is a story-based gamebook app with the book aspect of it as the actual text of the Shadow Ranch novel and the game aspect of it as minigames within the story. The game shows the voices and screenshots of characters and locations from The Secret of Shadow Ranch PC game. Shadow Ranch is available only for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, priced at $2.99 for the iPad and $0.99 for the iPhone and iPod Touch.[4][5]


Review score
PC Magazine4/5 stars[6]

In the United States, Secret of the Shadow Ranch's computer version sold between 100,000 and 300,000 units by August 2006.[7] By that date, the combined sales of Nancy Drew computer games had reached 2.1 million copies in the United States alone. Remarking upon this success, Edge called Nancy Drew a "powerful franchise".[7]


  1. ^ [1], The Secret of Shadow Ranch Teaser Trailer
  2. ^ "Nancy Drew The Secret of Shadow Ranch | Girl Games Online". Her Interactive. Archived from the original on July 8, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  3. ^ "Nancy Drew The Secret of Shadow Ranch IMDb".
  4. ^ [2], Nancy Drew Mobile Mysteries: Shadow Ranch Teaser Trailer
  5. ^ "Nancy Drew Mobile Mysteries Shadow Ranch | Girl Games Online". Her Interactive. Archived from the original on July 29, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  6. ^ Ackerman, Dan (November 2, 2004). "Quick Clips; Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Shadow Ranch". PC Magazine. Archived from the original on June 17, 2007.
  7. ^ a b Edge Staff (August 25, 2006). "The Top 100 PC Games of the 21st Century". Edge. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012.
Preceded by
Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception Island
Nancy Drew Computer Games Succeeded by
Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor