Shadow Ranch is a story-based game book in which the player makes various choices similar to choose your own adventure games, while reading through a Nancy Drew story. Along the way are several mini games including Hidden Object Games, and word games. Throughout each chapter there are collectibles that can be found in the text of the story and collecting every collectible unlocks a "mini mystery" which is a very short Nancy Drew mystery story.
In the story Nancy is visiting Arizona where she discovers a darker past of the ranch where she is staying. It appears that a notorious outlaw and his phantom steed are still haunting it.