Tag Archives: Ride

Ropes and the Reins, Joy and the Pain


by Rachel Willis

Modern-day cowboys are the focus of director Jake Allyn’s film, Ride.

Co-writing with Josh Plasse, Allyn has crafted an aching drama that explores the complicated relationships within a family struggling with several demons.

With his daughter ill, John Hawkins (C. Thomas Howell) engages in a desperate struggle to raise money to pay for treatments. His patience is thin as he fights with bureaucrats, hospital policy, and the outrageous amount of money needed to get his daughter the care she needs.

On top of the looming tragedy, Hawkins’s eldest son, Pete (Allyn, again, doing triple duty), has recently been released from prison. We’re given not-so-subtle hints as to what landed Pete in jail, but it’s compelling. Rounding out the family is the glorious Annabeth Gish, as the Hawkins’s family matriarch, Monica, who is also the town sheriff.  

A backdrop to the family’s personal struggles is the rodeo. The Hawkins family has a history in the sport, which offers us a glimpse into what a contemporary cowboy does in this world.

This is a tightly constructed film that has only one or two faults. Some of the drama treads too close to things we’ve seen before, but for the most part, things are handled in ways that speak to the rawness of a family in crisis.

It’s hard not to sympathize with John’s desperation. The money he needs is a crushing amount; that any family would be on the hook for such large sums to save a child is despicable. It’s not hard to understand the lengths a person will go to in their desire to do right by their family.

How far would you go to support your family? To save a child? It can be hard to imagine making some of the choices John makes, maybe impossible to imagine it. However, it’s not hard to imagine the desperation that leads a parent to make terrible choices.

It’s often crises that drive a family apart. Allyn skillfully raises the tension as Ride progresses. At times, the dialogue falters as we careen toward the climax, but it’s impossible not to be drawn in to this compelling, heartbreaking story of a family struggling to survive in a ruthless world.