Hallmark Channel’s Ride ending explained: Answering the big questions of the season

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Ride made its debut on Hallmark Channel in March 2023, introducing viewers to the McMurrays. Though the series was ultimately canceled, it's getting a second chance at life over on The CW. The network's audience has a love of modern westerns thanks to the popularity of Walker, starring Jared Padalecki which returns likely in April 2024. While The CW has given no word that it'll save Ride, it is the hope of fans like myself that the series will be picked up for a season 2!

If you're new to this drama, what you need to know is that it's all about family. The McMurrays have a rodeo legacy to uphold but they're in danger of losing their ranch after a personal tragedy upends their world. The premiere, "Legend of the Fall," which will air Monday, Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW, sets this all in motion thanks to the secrets both Austin McMurray and Valeria have hidden.

Since Ride has already aired, if you're looking for spoilers, you can find them in this post. The information will be separated by episode title, so if you only want to be slightly spoiled instead of knowing exactly what happens before season 1 has finished airing on the network, you'll be able to decide. Let's launch in!

Episode 1, “Legend of the Fall”

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How did Austin die?

The premiere opens with the day Austin died at the rodeo. He'd fallen off the bull, Hurricane, and landed in the path of the animal's hooves. The show doesn't disclose the cause of his death, but it's clear that it was due to being crushed. The protective gear he was wearing was not enough to withstand Hurricane's repeated stomping on his body.

From there, Ride picks up a year later. That's also how long it's been since Valeria left town. She flew the coop the night Austin died, and we know it has something to do with whatever he was up to moments before his death, but we're not told what was going on in that situation.

Much has changed for the McMurrays in the wake of Austin's passing. Missy is no longer performing as a trick rider. The year prior she'd done a "suicide drag" to the delight of the rodeo audience. As a former rodeo queen, it wasn't uncommon to see her pull off the trick which required her to hang from her saddle by one leg with her head and body toward the ground and her other leg pointed up and out as she rides her horse.

Missy's given the opportunity to become a brand ambassador for Frontier in order to capitalize off her recognition in the rodeo world. She contemplates accepting it because she needs something for herself now that Austin, her husband, has died. But she's also concerned about the McMurray ranch. Without the money her eldest son brought in as a bull rider, Isabel is in danger of losing the property. It's because of this that Cash decides to step up and become a bull rider himself.

Isabel has already lost her son and before him her husband, Dusty, to the sport and isn't thrilled by Cash's decision. What keeps her holding onto the possibility that he'll be fine is Tuff's decision to bull fight again. He'd given it up after his brother's death because he felt responsible for what happened. He'd been bullfighting that day, but couldn't prevent what happened because he didn't know Austin had been distracted. He didn't want Cash to suffer the same fate.

Missy also chooses to stick around instead of heading off to Houston, TX. At the behest of Isabel, she agrees to coach Cash. She's also going to help her and Valeria reseed the McMurray land in an effort to save the ranch.

Episode 2, "Rodeo and Juliet”

Ride. Credit: ©2023 Hallmark Media/Photographer: David Brown.
Ride. Credit: ©2023 Hallmark Media/Photographer: David Brown. /

Does Cash get his bull?

Yes. Missy doesn’t explain how she pulls it off, but she does get him the prize winning bull he’d been after at the beginning of the episode. The two agree to work together after this feat, with Cash accepting his friend as his coach and trainer.

Does Gus Booker invest in McMurray ranch?

He hasn’t won all of the family over yet, but he’s still in the running. Isabel believes Booker’s investment in the ranch could get them out from under surviving off of Frontier’s bull riding sponsorship. Missy’s open to the idea, however, Tuff, Valeria, and Cash are skeptical about Booker’s offer.

Under the deal Isabel is ready to agree to, the family would still own the ranch out right and operate it as usual, but Booker would get a cut of their profits. He’ll be going into partnership with the McMurrays by himself, not his family who are oil barons with an unsavory reputation. Booker’s trying to put distance between him and their legacy.

How do Valeria and Tuff get the sheep the ranch needs?

When Tuff stops Valeria from trying to sell her horse to Mr. Grisby, the farmer who’s still holding onto a grudge because she always beat his daughter in competition, she comes up with another idea. The two offer to graze Mr. Grisby’s sheep on the McMurray ranch since he overgrazed them on his land and keeping them there would do more damage.

All they ask is that he pay a fee to feed and provide water to the sheep, and they’ll take care of the rest. Come shearing season, they’ll split the income 50/50. Closing that deal prompts Isabel to make Valeria and Tuff co-foremans on the ranch because they work well together and she wants to free Tuff up so that he can be Cash’s bull fighter.

Does Missy get fired for going on Desiree Lockhart’s radio show without Frontier’s permission?

No. While JB Wooten didn’t appreciate her defying his direction to cancel the interview, he did acknowledge that she doubled their click-through rate as promised. He still needs Missy to prove to him that she can be an asset to Frontier even if she isn’t working out of Austin, but this was a definitive win for her.

What’s the significance of the engagement ring box that Austin gave Missy?

When it’s first seen in “Rodeo and Juliet,” Missy said that Austin giving her the carved wooden box with Andalusian horses on the cover was proof that he knew her better than anyone. What she doesn’t know is that Cash bought that box, and he’d put a necklace in it that he planned on giving to her but then Austin came home.

When his brother told him that he was going to ask Missy to marry him, and insisted that this was what she wanted even though it’d mean she couldn’t be rodeo queen anymore, Cash went to his glove compartment, took the necklace out of the box, and handed the box over to Austin so he could put the ring in it. He explained that Andalusians are Missy’s favorite horses and she’d appreciate the gesture.

Why couldn’t Missy be rodeo queen after Austin proposed?

It’s a stipulation of the title. Young women who compete must be single. While the rules differ slightly from region to region, the crux is that contestants and title holders can’t be engaged, married, divorced, pregnant, or a mother.

Generally, they’re not supposed to give the impression that they have a romantic partner either. If a title holder falls into any of the above mentioned categories, they forfeit their crown and duties. That’s why Cash pressed Austin on if he was sure Missy would want to be engaged at that point in her life because it would mean giving up something she loved while in the middle of her reign.

Episode 3, “The McMurray Curse”

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What’s the BRL?

In Ride, it’s the Bull Rider’s League, a fictional professional bull riders organization likely similar to the real life PBR (Professional Bull Riders, Inc.) which is an international organization. Isabel is determined that Cash make a good impression because they’re the who’s who of the profession and they can make or break his career based on their opinions of him. In bull riding it’s not just your technique and style that’s judged, you’re also judged on how personable you can be and how well you can move in the community fostered by the families who make this sports industry possible.

Why did Isabel McMurray and Barbara Sutton’s friendship fall apart?

Barbara didn’t know how to be Isabel’s friend while she was grieving and in so much pain after the tragic loss of her husband, Dusty. Isabel had assumed it was because Barbara was being superstitious and believed in the McMurray curse that everyone whispers about in the rodeo community. Barbara, however, admitted that it was her own shortcoming that kept them apart and asked if they could be friends again because she misses the bond they had.

What is the McMurray curse?

The belief held by some in the rodeo community that nothing but tragedy befalls the McMurrays. Dusty died in a bull riding accident and so did Austin. Now Cash is bull riding, too. They’re under the impression that misfortune follows the family from foot to foot.

What did Tuff find in Chantico’s stall?

Valeria has been hiding a bunch of fake IDs in the stall. It’s unclear what she’s been using them for, but their presence has made Tuff even more suspicious of her and what she was up to in the year that she stayed away from the ranch.

Episode 4, “Estella”

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Why is Missy estranged from her mom, Connie?

They’ve never really seen eye-to-eye on Missy’s future. She hasn’t really shared much with her mother about her life after Austin’s death because she thought all she’d want to know is if she was putting her pageant skills to work. When Missy did share with Connie what she’s been up to–coaching Cash–her mother’s reaction was to say that Missy’s wasting her life on yet another McMurray boy. Though Missy lost Austin to an accident, Connie still compares it to when her husband abandoned her and Missy. She doesn’t think you can trust a cowboy, and she’s worried Missy will always be in the shadow of a McMurray if she stays around the ranch.

Where did Missy find Sophie when she went missing at the ranch?

The tree house that Missy would runaway to when she’s was young. Sophie’s been having a hard time because her mom is getting remarried, so she decided to run off because she didn’t want to go home.

How does Valeria know Tucker Clark?

She tells the McMurrays that she’d been in debt to him which is why she took off so suddenly a year ago because he was starting to get angry. She no longer owes him money and only gambles for beer money now. Valeria explained away her fake IDs by saying she needed them to stay hidden from Tucker until she could pay off her debt. What she didn't tell the McMurrays is that Estella is her real name. She grew up in an affluent household and did have a mother, but her mother was dying.

Episode 5, “When It Rains”

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How does Cash secure a (potential) brand ambassadorship with Frontier Jeans?

Missy invites him as her plus one to the company’s BBQ. At first it looks like Hudson Cooper, Cash’s biggest competition on the circuit, is going to get the look from JB but then Missy lures Hudson away for a conversation about how he could improve his bull riding. This gives Cash an opportunity to speak to JB by himself.

Cash assumes it doesn’t go well because JB is a traditionalist when it comes to burger flipping, but when Cash tells him he learned multiple flips reduced cook time during his time in the military, JB started looking at him differently. This was supported by Missy talking Cash up in front of a reporter and JB. Cash saying that his training bull Bullet is his dancer partner sparked an article idea from the reporter and JB said that if the article comes with a photo, Cash will be in Frontier jeans.

Why did Cash and Gus fight?

Their verbal altercation started in front of everyone in the barn when Gus tried to chase after Missy when she said she didn’t want an escort. He wanted her to hold up, but Cash intervened and told him to leave her alone. Gus took his leave after that but Cash followed him. He was supposed to clear the air, but he ended up saying that Gus can’t fix everything and that he has no idea what it is to be like the McMurrays because he was handed everything.

This led to Gus telling Cash that Missy holds his hand through everything but she does it because she pities him and one day she’ll wake up and realize she doesn’t want to do that anymore. That’s when the two got into a physical fight as Cash threw a punch. In the middle of their dust up, Cash hit a pole with his fist which is sure to have consequences. Gus noticed and tried to ask if he was okay but he was told to leave by Valeria who’d gotten in the middle of their fight.

While Valeria was trying to help Cash take care of his wounded hand, he confessed that he doesn’t feel like he’ll ever be enough. Though he didn’t elaborate, it was obvious Cash was talking about Missy and his feelings for her along with the weight of having to live up to Austin in nearly every aspect of his life.

Did Isabel decide to partner with Hank on the rodeo stadium?

Yes. After Cody reminded her that Dusty and Austin are a part of the land too and that she should let them help her keep it through building this stadium and honoring their legacy with a museum, she told Hank she’s on board with his pie in the sky idea. She and Dusty used to dream about it together and she wants to make it a reality. They’ll need an investor though because neither of them can finance this dream on their own.

Episode 6, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”

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Did Daniel Booker agree to fund the Canyon Rodeo Stadium?

He was reluctant at first and visibly uninterested in the rodeo the McMurray family were putting on, however, he enjoyed Cash’s bull ride. Combine his reaction to Cash’s skills with Isabel’s impassioned speech about the rodeo bringing people together and it being about community and family, Daniel softened to the idea. He agreed to look at Isabel’s numbers though a deal has yet to be offered.

Did Austin cheat on Missy?

No. While he and Polly did have a relationship it was prior to his romance with Missy. However, the two met up because Austin needed help. He wanted to rig what bull he’d get to ride. Polly made sure he’d get Hurricane, the bull that ended up killing him. Essentially, Austin was cheating at bull riding because the wilder the bull, the higher points you score. She didn’t say why Austin wanted to cheat.

Episode 7, “Ride or Die”

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Why did Missy quit being Cash’s coach?

Cash wouldn’t listen to her about not riding on an injured hand and recognizing when he needs to rest and not push himself. She has no intention on watching him make the same choices his brother Austin did. Not to mention Missy has been feeling pressure from Isabel to be the best coach and always have a handle on Cash even when he doesn’t tell her what’s going on with him.

What were Cash’s MRI results?

He has a hairline fracture and he has to keep a cast on for four weeks. At first he says he's not going to let that deter him from getting ready to ride in Denver. But he ultimately decides not to compete and he calls JB to let him know about his wrist. It's this action that wins Missy back to his side as his coach because he told her he wouldn't be like Austin. He's bullriding because he loves it, and it's about more than sponsorships and money to him.

Who won the Miss Rodeo pageant?

Georgia Turk! Missy decided to go with her heart and score the contestants based on their skills and their interview answers instead of going with Frontier’s pick which was Anna, a young woman who Missy found to be lacking during the interview portion.

Episode 8, “Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace”

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Will the stadium be named after the McMurray family or the Bookers?

Daniel Booker pushed for the stadium to be named after himself because of the money he was investing. Briefly, Isabel felt compelled to oblige him and sign the paperwork establishing that the stadium would bear the Booker family name. However, after talking to Cody about love languages, she spoke to Daniel in a manner he would understand. The stadium will be named after the McMurrays, and she supported this by reminding Daniel that he’s been trying to acquire investors by using their name to entice interested backers. That’s the money they bring to the table and it’s significant. He backed off once she did this.

Do Cash and Valeria get together?

While they did share one kiss in the middle of the episode, by the end they mutually decide that they’d be better off as friends. Cash took this in stride but, unbeknownst to him, Valeria was struggling with this decision even though she knew it was the right one. She told him that he needs to stop lying to himself because his heart belongs to someone else. That’s clearly Missy, and he’ll only feel right kissing someone when it’s the woman he loves.

Why does Gus break up with Missy?

Missy wasn’t the reason why his sister Sophie chose not to go through with marrying Josh, but it reminded Gus of when he was stood up at the altar. It’s implied that he’s in deeper emotionally than Missy and he’s scared of what that could mean down the line as he doesn’t want to go through what he did when his bride walked out on him. Missy’s main concern is that she doesn’t want to lose herself in a relationship like she did with Austin. She recognizes that it’s different with Gus, but he told her he needed some space and to spend time with his family.

Episode 9, “Truths Laid Bare”

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Why did Valeria run away from home when she was 16?

After her mother died, her father remarried. Valeria’s relationship with her father had always been strained. It was her mom that held their family together. The state of their relationship worsened and her stepmother didn’t help matters. The two were planning to send her to reform school because they couldn’t handle her insubordination and skipping of school, so she ran away. Valeria adopted her mother's middle name in order to honor her memory when she assumed another identity.

In Austin, Valeria’s disappearance was headline news, but her stepmother is aware that she landed at McMurray Ranch. She told her that she wasn’t welcome to come back.

Why did Valeria steal the necklace?

Austin asked her to help him. He was in the hole with Tucker, he’d been betting too much on his rides and it landed him in dire financial straits. Austin feared that if he didn’t pay Tucker back something terrible could happen to their family. But she didn’t steal the necklace.

It was Valeria’s mother’s and it had been given to her. She went to go get it so she could pawn it and help Austin. Her dad caught her, and he didn’t say anything as she took it. However, he did report it stolen the next day.

Why did Cash confront Tucker?

He found out that Tucker had threatened Austin before he was set to ride Hurricane. Cash now blames Tucker for Austin not being able to concentrate during his bull ride which resulted in his unfortunate demise. Tucker baited Cash into an altercation and he caught in on tape thanks to his security camera.

Ride season 1 finale, “Andalusians”

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Did Cash throw the Cheyenne championship?

Thankfully, no. While Tucker did pay his bail and try to get him to follow in Austin’s footsteps by throwing the championship so they could split the betting pool 50-50, Cash changed his mind at the last minute and rode Hurricane with the intent of winning. And win he did! Cash rode Hurricane for 8 seconds and earned 91 points, making him the Cheyenne champion. This also earned him the sponsorship with Frontier over Hudson.

Does Missy choose Cash or Gus?

She chooses neither. While Gus did tell her that he loves her, Missy was in a hurry to get to Cheyenne for Cash’ competition and didn’t give any indication that she felt the same. As for Cash, she found the necklace he was going to give to her years ago before Austin proposed. Missy left it on his door at the ranch after the championship, and he went to go talk to her about it.

Missy found out that the box Austin had given her–the one that proved to her that Austin knew her better than anyone–actually came from Cash. She said that she married Austin because he chose her, Cash never said anything to her about his feelings. Choosing to take the leap, Cash kissed her and the two exchanged a couple more kisses after that, but they didn’t talk about where their relationship will go from there.

In the end, she took her mother’s advice and went after her own dreams rather than concentrating on her romantic life or what the McMurrays may need from her. Missy left for Albuquerque without telling Cash and Gus where she was going so they were literally left out in the cold with no update on her intentions toward them.

Did Tuff decide to head out on the road with his boyfriend, Julian?

No. Tuff wanted to embrace what’s best for him, and that’s not going on the road to watch Julian live out his dreams. It seems the two have amicably broken up so they can concentrate on their separate futures. Earlier in the finale, Janine told Tuff that she entered his song into Battle of the Bands, so his focus is going to be on his music.

Why did Austin start throwing matches four months prior to his death?

He’d been helping Polly out. Apparently, that’s when she told him that they have a son, Wyatt. She introduced him to Isabel at the end of the episode opening a whole other can of worms and questions in the process!


Ride airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Episodes will be available to stream next day on cwtv.com and the CW App. Stay tuned to Hidden Remote for more CW news and coverage!