Tubegazing: Texas Ranch House

Texas Ranch House (PBS, May 1-4, 8-10 p.m. EDT) The PBS time-travel series, plopping everyday folks into their forebears' lives, has produced eminently watchable modern TV. The latest installment, "Texas Ranch House," transports a California family of five and an entertaining collection of cowboy wannabes to an 1867 home on the range, where (unbranded) cattle still roam. Combining interviews with footage from their nearly three-month trial under the Texas summer sun, "Ranch House" is engaging, droll commentary on the American dream and how we became the nation we are today. The participants learn early that small mistakes can cost them big. Vermont native Shaun ties his horse up all wrong, and his mount spooks and pulls the entire hitching post from the ground. Shaun is forced to delay his first ride to stay behind and build a new one. Grade A

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