Nancy Travis: Stakes are high for rodeo and ranching family in 'Ride'

Left to right, Beau Mirchoff, Nancy Travis and Tiera Skovbye star in "Ride." Photo courtesy of Hallmark
1 of 4 | Left to right, Beau Mirchoff, Nancy Travis and Tiera Skovbye star in "Ride." Photo courtesy of Hallmark

NEW YORK, March 26 (UPI) -- Last Man Standing and The Kominsky Method actress Nancy Travis says she thinks viewers will connect to the family drama and sense of adventure at the heart of her contemporary western, Ride, which premieres Sunday on the Hallmark Channel and Peacock.

Co-starring Tiera Skovbye, Beau Mirchoff, Sara Garcia, Jake Foy and Tyler Jacob Moore, the show follows the McMurrays, a family of ranchers and rodeo riders in Colorado.


"All of these characters are so incredibly vulnerable and they are at risk for losing so much," Travis, who plays matriarch Isabel on the show, told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.

"The stakes are so high for each of them emotionally and it's about how they struggle and fight to protect those things and claim for themselves what they need to survive."

Viewers in the post COVID-19 pandemic era appear to be craving the kind of nostalgia and beauty that shows like Ride provide.


"There's a sense of adventure, a sense of openness," Travis said.

"But I also think there is a fractious nature about people now and sort of [these questions about] what is bigger than you? What is bigger than the difference between you and your neighbor? This is bigger than that and it's an adventure. It's huge."

Good Trouble and Now Apocalypse alum Mirchoff, who plays Isabel's son Cash, agreed with Travis.

"We evolved in big spaces. We are part of nature. There is something pure and holistic when you are in nature. It's 'slow to medium,'" he said.

"The grass is swaying and maybe, once in a while, a hawk swoops down, but you go in a city and everything is so fast paced. It's exhausting. When you get to look at some idyllic, pastoral landscape, it's like, 'Let's relax for a second; it's nice.'"

Travis has a better understanding of the risky, exhilarating life of rodeo competitions after being immersed in it for four months while filming the show.

"For a lot of ranchers, it's how they sustain their ranches and income, and it's a way of life that starts with children at a very young age," the actress said.


"The ability that people have -- between the barrel racing and the trick riding and the bull riding -- is staggering and it's also dangerous."

Mirchoff understands what motivates adrenaline junkies.

"There is something animalistic about wanting to impress your tribe. We've been doing that for thousands of years. The most risky person would go hunting and get the animal and bring it back to the tribe and you got social cache that way," he said.

"I think this is a modern way of [achieving] that. Riding a bull is insane. It's crazy, but there is a rush and camaraderie and the celebration and all the things that come with it."

Throughout the show, the characters are seen grieving losses, struggling to pay bills and deferring personal dreams for the good of the family and its business.

"That was one of the things that drew me to this character and the story the most -- this family dynamic and these relationships and the complexity of it," said Nurses and Riverdale actress Skovbye, who plays Isabel's daughter-in-law Missy in Ride.

"We've always said that the setting, the land where we filmed, plays its part and is almost like another character," she added. "It adds such an authentic element to everything we were doing -- and these people."


Mirchoff, who doesn't live in his hometown anymore, had a personal epiphany while filming Ride.

"I realized how much I missed my family, shooting the show," he said. "All these issues -- the stakes are usually higher stakes than what happens in my family -- but I miss that. I want to be with my family. I don't see them enough."

Travis said she related to how much Isabel loves her three sons and wants to protect them.

"I have two grown sons and just the constant desire to bring us all together is very much what Isabel is about -- trying to hold onto that family and keep everyone together," she added.

Isabel has a great line of dialogue in the first episode of Ride when she tells Missy and ranch hand Valeria (Sara Garcia), how much she appreciates them as the daughters she never had.

"I was thinking of my grandfather who was an Italian immigrant and he had five daughters and all he ever wanted was a son. He would say, 'I have five girls, but I have five great son in laws," Travis said, emphasizing that family is not only "literally about a bloodline."

"Family comes to you in many different ways and, certainly, today, the people that make up a family are incredibly diverse and disparate and you just never know who you'll consider family," she added. "It is a soulful and a spiritual connection and, in Ride, these two women come into Isabel's life and world in a very surprising way. She feels an affinity for them. It's the estrogen connection."


Mirchoff described Cash as a determined and sensitive guy with a lot of demons.

"We all have our own problems and anxieties and fears. I think it's a really beautiful thing when you can express or examine your own things within a character," he said.

Missy doesn't know exactly where she is going when viewers first meet her either, but Skovbye said that's OK.

"Missy is definitely somebody who's had this entire other life, this entire other career and she kind of gave that up for love and, so, she is kind of in a place right now after this tragic loss of trying to figure who she is and what she wants in the world," the actress added.

"That's something that is quite easy to connect to. This constant self-discovery was a really fun thing to be able to experience for the character -- and myself."

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