Unlike aspirational Netflix series set on the coasts, Netflix sitcom The Ranch takes place in rural Colorado — and its devoted fans love the view. The all-star cast includes That 70's Show alums Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson, alongside veteran actors Sam Elliott and Debra Winger. If that wasn't enough star power, Kutcher also doubles as an executive producer for the streaming giant dramedy.
The series, which debuted in 2016 hasn't been a critical darling, but it's definitely been a beloved favorite among fans subscribed to the streamer. The show was enveloped in scandal in 2017 after Masterson was accused of sexual assault, who was subsequently fired, with character written out. More bad news followed in 2019, when it was announced The Ranch was ending production, and would drop its final 20 new episodes in 2019 and 2020. (Fans didn't take kindly to that news.)
Viewers seem to love the series for the way it portrays the Bennetts, its fictional, but relatable clan of ranch hands and bartenders, including ex-jock Colt (Kutcher), his brother, Rooster (Masterson), his dad, Beau (Elliott), and his mother, Maggie (Winger). But while the show ended this past January, it remains on Netflix for new audiences and old to relive, and there is a lot to love about it — including its long list of surprisingly cool facts that will be your go-to for knowing the very best in trivia on the series, like how The Ranch pays homage to its fictional town of Garrison, Colorado with the show's opening credits set in Ouray, Colorado. Bet you didn't know that, and these really cool, fun facts!
1. Nope, that's not a laugh track
Just like an old-school sitcom, The Ranch is filmed in front of a studio audience. So, when you hear people crack up at the gags, you're really hearing people crack up.
2. 'The Ranch' doesn't have seasons
Unlike most series, The Ranch is divided into parts, not seasons. (It's listed that way on Netflix, too.) Each part features 10 episodes. The show's Part 7 is due later this year; its concluding Part 8 is set to follow sometime in 2020.
3. The show’s seriously into country music -- and country-music legends.
If you pay attention to the names of the episodes, you’ll notice they're all names of country-music songs — and not just any country-music songs. All of the Part 1 episodes take their titles from the Kenny Chesney catalog, while Part 2 belongs to George Strait; Part 3 to Tim McGraw; Part 4 to Garth Brooks; Part 5 to Dolly Parton, and finally, Part 6 to Alabama.
4. Country stars love 'The Ranch' right back
Country heartthrob Thomas Rhett made his acting debut in the Part 4 episode, "Wrapped Up in You." (He played himself!)
5. Debra Winger joined the series for this incredibly simple reason
Winger, the three-time Oscar nominee (Terms of Endearment, An Officer and a Gentleman, Shadowlands) who famously turned her back on Hollywood in the mid-1990s, told ET Online that she was drawn to The Ranch because she “hadn’t done it [a sitcom] before.”
6. Sam Elliott was cast because well…he’s the man
Kutcher told theNew York Timesthat the show offered the role of Beau, the Bennetts' patriarch, to Sam Elliott because ... well, Kutcher explains it best: “You know the feeling that no matter how old your dad gets, he can always whip your a—?" Kutcher told the newspaper. "Sam is that guy."
7. 'The Ranch' took a cue from 'Duck Dynasty'
Ashton Kutcher has said the first priority for the architects of The Ranch was to set the show in "small-town America." "It's the middle of the country, the heartland ... yet nobody makes content for them," he told Entertainment Weekly. "I don't think the success of Duck Dynasty was an accident. I think that show was successful because it spoke to a specific audience that can relate to that life."
8. Ranchers love 'The Ranch' for keeping things real
As noted by the livestock publication Beef Magazine, The Ranch frequently deals with issues faced by real-world ranchers, such as the 2015 toxic spill in Animas River (part of the Colorado River system), and how the event impacted local ranchers' land.
9. Fans fought to bring back Danny Masterson
After Masterson was fired from The Ranch, viewers took to social media to passionately lobby for him and his character (who was killed off) to be brought back. In an Instagram post, Masterson urged them right back to keep supporting the show and its cast and crew.
10. Fans of 'The Ranch' are passionate about, well, a lot of things
News that The Ranch was ending production also set off the faithful. Many took to Twitter to tell the show’s stars that they were canceling their Netflix subscriptions.
11. Rooster died, but 'The Ranch' didn't
After Danny Masterson left The Ranch, Dax Shepard moved in. The Parenthood vet plays Luke Matthews, Colt’s cousin, and an Army vet with post-traumatic stress disorder.
12. The actors may not always be acting
Fans have long speculated that the cast drinks real alcohol in scenes that feature booze — and they may be right. As a guest on Conan, Ashton Kutcher admitted, “We fully, like full-blown — we drink.”
13. 'The Ranch' is basically a never-ending 'That '70s Show' reunion
In addition to Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson, The Ranch has featured appearances by That '70s Show alums Wilmer Valderrama, Debra Jo Rupp, Kurtwood Smith, Laura Prepon and Mila Kunis (Kutcher's real-life wife).
14. Some of the pics in the opening credits should look awfully familiar
In between the cute baby photos and TV-family shots of the Bennetts, The Ranch's opening credits feature two movie publicity stills: one of Masterson from Beethoven’s 2nd; and, one of Winger from Urban Cowboy.
15. Ashton Kutcher grew up in a town similar to Garrison
The Hollywood star hails from Iowa. “I was raised in a town with a little more than 100 people, so I’m pretty familiar with ranching and farming,” Kutcher once told the New York Times.
16. The theme song is a family affair
While The Ranch’s intro theme is instantly recognizable as the 1970s hit, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” it's a new version -- as recorded by the offspring of the old song's singers: Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson; and Shooter Jennings, son of Waylon Jennings.
17. There's something funny about the buffalo ...
You may not have noticed this teeny-tiny detail, but the prop buffalo in the bar run by Maggie (Debra Winger) wears a different hat in every single episode. It's modeled a sombrero, a wizard’s hat, a top hat, a crown and more.
18. Sam Elliott knows ranches
The Ranch's father figure lives on a ranch in Malibu, California (it's probably a bit fancier than the one from the show). The mustached icon, who's starred in scores of Westerns, owns a second ranch property in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.
19. 'The Ranch' and 'That '70s Show' have even more in common than you knew
Emmy-winner director David Trainer has helmed every episode of The Ranch — just like he directed every episode That '70s Show.
20. The 'That ‘70’s Show' tie-ins never end!
The Ranch writers love working in winks to Ashton Kutcher's old show. A Ranch gag, for instance, about Kutcher's character getting his hand stuck in a cow is a callback to a That '70s Show gag about Kutcher's character getting his stand stuck in a vase. In another Ranch episode, guest-star Kurtwood Smith calls Rooster (Danny Masterson) a "dumbass" -- that was a word Smith threw around a lot as That '70s Show's grumpy Red.
21. Rooster is brand loyal
Fans on a now-archived Reddit thread noticed that Danny Masterson’s character Rooster only chews Kodiak Wintergreen smokeless tobacco.
22. This is not your mama's sitcom
Even though The Ranch features the trappings of the traditional broadcast-network sitcom — the studio audience, the multi-camera production, etc. — it's definitely a creature of the streaming age. In other words, the characters cuss.
23. "The Ranch" doesn't mess with Shania ... anymore
A Shania Twain joke in The Ranch's pilot episode that had Ashton Kutcher's character talking about sliding “balls head first into Miss Shania” and showing the singer his “Twain” resulted in the actor publicly apologizing to her on Twitter. Twain wasn't mad — and the two got into an epic Shania-song-lyric quote-off.
24. Sam Elliott is definitely a Coors guy
On The Ranch, Coors is the beer of choice for Beau (Sam Elliott). In real life, Coors beer commercials are voiced by — who else? — Sam Elliott.
25. 'Two and a Half Men' also gets love from 'The Ranch'
While Ashton Kutcher is clearly devoted to That '70s Show, he hasn't forgotten about his other big broadcast-network hit. Jon Cryer, who starred with Kutcher on the last four seasons of Two and a Half Men, appeared in Parts 1 and 2 of The Ranch, on the episodes, "Til It's Gone," and "Big Money," respectively.
26. 'The Ranch' supports small business
Among all the big-name brands of whiskey you'll see visually referenced on the show is a small, local one: 291 Whiskey. It's from a small-batch distillery in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
27. 'The Ranch' doesn't exactly sound like Colorado
As you may have noticed, on The Ranch, everyone in Garrison has somewhat of a Southern accent. If you live in or visit Colorado, however, you’ll find that almost no one in the Rocky Mountain state has any sort of regional accent.
28. Uggs have a foothold on 'The Ranch'
In the very first episode of The Ranch, rough-and-tumble Colt (Kutcher) can be seen wearing comfy Uggs boots. The footwear made such an impression that fans demanded their return. In a subsequent interview with the New York Times, Kutcher promised Uggs would make another appearance — "or two."
29. Maggie’s Saloon is real -- sorta
The exterior shots of Maggie’s Saloon are of a real place called the 141 Saloon in Naturita, Colorado.
30. Colt is in his mid-30s in Part 1 — and here's how we know
While The Ranch doesn't straight-up give away the birth date of Kutcher's character, you can figure it out. In the pilot, Colt does some quick math to make sure the woman in his bedroom is of age. As he's figuring, he says he was 17 in 1999. That would make him about about 34 or 35 in 2016, which is the same year that the present-day-set show debuted.