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The Ranger, the Cook and a Hole in the Sky (1995)

PG | | Western | TV Movie 15 June 1995
In 1919, a cocky sophomore in the forest service has to learn life the hard way.



(story "USFS 1919: The Ranger, the Cook and A Hole in the Sky"), (teleplay)

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Complete credited cast:
Bill Bell
Mr. Smith
Robert Wisden ...
Mr. McBride
Doc Riley
Big Hat
Bigger Hat (as Alan C. Peterson)
Campbell Lane ...
Biggest Hat


A young ranger in the Montana wilderness discovers the great forces of nature while learning the importance of honor, trust and integrity. Legendary veteran ranger Bill Bell educates the young man and guides him toward manhood. The year is 1919-a time when being a ranger meant more than operating expensive equipment. Forest fires were fought with guts and courage, not chemicals and airplanes. Bill Bell was the toughest ranger in an elite crew of very rugged men. A figure of heroic proportions, he was generally feared and respected by all. It was even rumored that he had at one time killed a sheep farmer, which only fueled his already enormous reputation. The young ranger does everything to remain in the good graces of Bill Bell, the senior ranger he idolizes. Their tentative rapport grows into a friendship through a hilarious and heroic rite of passage in which the younger ranger meets the test-and the woman of his dreams. Written by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ranger | forest | nature | sophomore | chef | See All (34) »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for a barroom brawl




Release Date:

15 June 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hole in the Sky  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ricky Jay plays a professional gambler and card shark who is an expert at manipulating a deck of cards. In real life, Ricky Jay is a professional magician who specializes in card tricks. See more »


Mac: [In a gradually increasing crescendo of emphasis, starting in a normal tone, ending in a near roar] Red, let me ask you. Have you ever once, in your whole life, had one, single, solitary, original thought, that didn't bounce off from somewhere else? I mean, have you ever sat down, considered all the available information, weighed it all in your mind, sifted all the possibilities, discarded what you couldn't prove, sorted out what made sense, and came to your own, personal, original, Red McBride ...
See more »

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User Reviews

Realistic western
24 August 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jerry O'Connell and Sam Elliot star in this improbably named western, set in Montana in the early 1900s. Forest rangers are clearing a trail over a mountain during one long summer. O'Connell is a 17 year old who learns as he goes, working with a veteran crew. Elliot is the trail boss, and the best mule packer in the group. Before the summer is over, O'Connell's farmboy will have learned a few hard lessons and fallen in love with a gal in town. There's also a humdinger of a bar fight over a poker game involving the camp cook, played by real-life magician Ricky Jay. This is a quiet, introspective movie in many respects, with no gunplay or fancy theatrics other than the bar fight. We can believe this is how forestry people did their job then, and perhaps even now -- with the addition of today's engines, of course. Back then, a lot of it was accomplished by hand. RANGER reminds me of a Hallmark movie, which it probably started out as.

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