• "Heartland" is a drama series that premiered in 2007 and follows the highs and lows of the Fleming sisters as they work their family's farm and pursue their dreams.
• Marion Fleming, mother to Amy and Lou, died in an accident while driving home after rescuing an abused horse.
• Will Vernon, Jack Bartlett's best friend, died of an unseen gunshot wound he had received from a poacher the prior season.
• Ty Borden, a main character, died of a deep vein thrombosis caused by a gunshot he had received from a poacher.
• Graham Wardle, Ty's actor, left the show on good terms and allowed for his character's death as a plotline.
There’s nothing like a good countryside love story to warm our hearts and keep us tuning in to the same show for several years. Ever since its premiere in 2007, “Heartland” has given us the best of the highs and lows of the Flemings sisters, as they try to work their family’s farm and accomplish their dreams, all the while drifting the waters of falling in and out of love.
Even though “Heartland” has its fair share of drama, illnesses, scares and complicated romantic affairs, plotlines involving the death of characters are certainly not that common in the series…. that is until recently.
So has any character died in “Heartland”? What did happen to them, and what do the stars have to say about it? keep with us to discover recent developments in our favorite farm-based drama series.
The first character we saw dying in “Heartland” was the mother of Amy and Lou, Marion Fleming. Despite seeing very little of her, Marion’s character and death definitely had a deep impact on the show’s plot, given her closeness to the main characters.
Hope everyone's having a wonderful weekend!🙂
Tomorrow evening should also be wonderful, as there is a NEW Heartland episode (1112) across Canada at 7:00pm on @CBC.
A memorial ride for Marion Fleming will be a big part of tomorrow's episode. Please join us for it.
— Heartland (@HeartlandOnCBC) January 20, 2018
Just like her daughter Amy, Marion’s deep love for nature guided her way to becoming a horse-whisperer. Although her long-time passion was the main focus of her life, at some point she fell in love with Tim, whom she married and with whom she welcomed her two daughters. Despite the initial marriage’s bliss, Tim’s growing addiction to painkillers resulted in Jack throwing him out of Heartland, to which he didn’t return until 10 years later.
Besides taking a big role in farm work, Marion’s relationship with Amy and Lou was pretty strong, and despite not having many similarities with the latter, Marion strongly supported Lou in her professional endeavors.
Unfortunately, Marion’s love for her profession ultimately led to her demise, while driving home after rescuing an abused horse from the hands of a local rancher. Amy was also seriously injured in the accident, which was featured in “Heartland”s premier episode entitled “Coming Home”.
Regardless of not appearing in “Heartland” as much as other characters, Will Vernon is remembered by the most loyal fans of the series as Jack Bartlett’s best friend. Will’s debut in the show goes back to the eighth season episode “The Pike River Cull”, followed by several appearances in the following years until his character’s death in the 12th season episode “All Hearts Lead Home”, aired in 2019.
The suddenness of Will’s death deeply affects Jack, who had even planned a trip with his late best friend for the following week, which he ended up going on alone despite his family’s protest.
Jack’s trip became a good time to reflect on life, drinking, and playing Will’s guitar as a way to honor him. The morning after, Jack was ready to go fishing, but things took an unexpected turn when he accidentally fell into the river, hitting his head in the process. What followed was one of the most memorable scenes in “Heartland”, as an unconscious Jack conversed with the ghost figure of his lost friend, with Jack remembering their good times together, and also giving him the will to regain consciousness and not die in the river.
The death of Ty Borden in “Heartland” is probably the most heart-breaking in the show’s history, as not only was he a main character, but was also very important for his wife Amy and children.
Ty’s death happened in the 14th season’s premiere episode “Keep Me in Your Heart”, aired in 2021, which shows him collapsing in the barn, and remaining unresponsive in a gut-wrenching scene. Despite receiving quick help from Amy and Jack, it was already too late for Ty, who died of deep vein thrombosis caused by a gunshot he had received the prior season from a poacher, from which he had supposedly recovered well.
Ty’s death was undoubtedly a big shock for viewers, who never thought this would be his fate, despite noticing the character’s decreasing appearances in the show in past seasons. However, regardless of the suddenness of it all, his death had been planned for a long time by the show’s producers, as they considered Ty’s actor Graham Wardle decision to part ways with the show.
Not seeing Ty anymore on their TV screens was obviously a big change for an audience who had grown to understand and empathize with such an important character, but it also marked a new path for Amy and her subsequent fate as a widow and single mother.
Why Did Graham Wardle Leave?
More often than not, a character’s on-screen death is surrounded by some type of off-camera drama or controversy. While this isn’t a rare occurrence in the entertainment world, it’s fortunately not the case for “Heartland”s former bad-boy turned family-guy Ty Borden, and his sudden death in the 14th season.
Beloved as he was by an audience which viewed his personal struggles from season one, his exit from the show logically left many fans flabbergasted. That being said, not only did Graham leave “Heartland” on good terms with his fellow stars and producers, but also gave them a couple of years to get used to the idea of his upcoming absence.
Back in the 10th season aired in 2016, Ty’s prolonged trip to Mongolia was the result of Graham’s decision to step away from the show for a while. Although he eventually returned, around 2019 he agreed with “Heartland”s creator Murray Shostak that his character’s demise would be a death plotline, allowing Graham to go in search of new opportunities: ‘I felt in my heart it was time to move in a new direction’, he admitted in his goodbye message.
While taking such a drastic decision might not have been easy for an actor whose rise to fame was mostly due to his character in “Heartland”, Graham is apparently doing well nowadays in his new career as a spiritual speaker.
What Did Amber Marshall Have To Say?
Given the importance of Ty to her own character Amy, it’s unsurprising that Amber Marshall had something to say about Graham Wardle’s exit. As she told The Chronicle Journal, she fully supported his decision to leave the show: ‘he’s been going in different directions, working on different projects, and he’d spoke with us openly quite a few times’, she admitted, also stating that the long time working together had made the cast more receptive of the each other’s individual decisions.
— Amber Marshall (@Amber_Marshall) October 27, 2015
Besides confirming that the cast had received the news in positively, despite their obvious fondness for Graham, they also wanted to give his character a good conclusion: ‘I guess the next step was, ‘How do we do this, and honor that character the best way we can?’.
Regarding her own character, Amber stated that dealing with such an important and painful loss was a big point of inflection for Amy, as she ‘hasn’t known a life without Ty’ since the pair got together during their teens, irremediably pushing her to look out for a ‘new sense of purpose’, while raising their Lyndy Marion alone.
All in all, Ty’s death meant the end of an era for “Heartland”, but also represented a new start for Graham professionally.
Where Did Ty Come From?
No one should be surprised at the impact Ty Borden had on “Heartland”s audience, considering how long the character was in the show. His introduction happened back in the first season when he started working as a ranch hand for Marion Fleming, though at first Jack and Amy didn’t have a good impression of him, due to his bad boy charade.
Ty continued his work in Heartland even after Marion’s death, and it was later revealed that his reason for being on the ranch was to finish his probationary period, having already complied with his juvenile detention sentence for attacking his mother’s second husband, Wade Dalton in an effort to defend her.
Considering Ty’s questionable past, proneness to trouble and rebellious attitude proper of a teen, he wasn’t the most trustworthy character in the beginning. However, his continued work at Heartland steadily gained him not only the fondness of Jack Fleming, but also guided him to find his life’s calling in taking care of the ranch’s animals.
Despite bonding with people at Heartland, Ty takes other jobs in town, and at some point leaves Alberta only to eventually return. In later seasons, Ty pursues a vet career which fortunately allowed him to work in town, but still facing many obstacles in his way.
Ty’s family issues were a main factor in forging his personality, especially in early seasons. After his father abandoned them, Ty’s mother Lily raised him alone for a while before marrying Wade Dalton, who abused Ty in his childhood, besides constantly beating-up Lily.
The relationship between Lily and Wade is tumultuous to say the least, given his addiction to gambling, and his violent tendencies, leading Ty to attack him in an effort to defend his mother. That incident landed Ty in a juvenile detention center, but Wade and Lily’s marriage didn’t end right away. Needless to say, Ty’s relationship with his mother is complicated to say the least, though Lily eventually separated from Wade and went to Heartland looking to bond with her son again. Although they ended up on good terms, their bond was faced with many obstacles and issues.
Regarding his father Brad, Ty hadn’t seen him since his early teens before their encounter in the first season’s finale, when he left Alberta to move with him to another city. However, the second season saw Ty returning to take back his job at Heartland, after not knowing how to deal with his father’s many debt issues. Despite meeting again at Heartland, Brad steals money from his son, and leaves without explanation, definitely losing Ty’s trust forever.
Love Story With Amy
The endearing love story between Ty and Amy is one of the reasons many people came to love “Heartland”. The pair had a rocky start in the first season due to his rebellious nature, but their mutual teenager’s attitude helped them to bond despite their frequent disagreements.
While their growing romantic feelings for each other were very obvious from the start, they took a sweet time before finally kissing in the first season’s finale. Ty and Amy didn’t start a real romantic relationship until the second season, but before getting there, they faced many struggles related to Ty’s family issues and past, doubts about their future, added to the fact that at some point the pair had other partners.
Our favorite couple eventually became engaged in the fifth season, and married in the eighth, though their shared love for animals and growing trust in each other played a significant role in maturing and strengthening their bond to such a point.
— Amy Fleming Borden (@AmyFlemming20) February 21, 2020
In the 10th season the couple welcomed Lyndy Marion, named to honor Amy’s late mother. Three seasons later, they welcomed Luke into their home as foster parents, unknowingly spending their last months as a happy family before Ty’s death.
What Happened To Kit Bailey?
As many loyal viewers remember, Ty had a brief relationship with Kit Bailey, prior to finally getting together with Amy.
As it happened, Kit and Ty met in unusual circumstances during the second season, as he accidentally spotted her while she bathed in a pond. Their friendship was clearly flirty from the beginning, though they remained good friends and comforted each other when needed. They eventually kiss and start a relationship, but their romance was meant to be cut short due to Ty’s remaining and unsolved feelings for Amy, leading to a heart-breaking but necessary break up. Nonetheless, they remained friends afterwards.
Leaves and Accidents
Regardless of becoming comfortable with his job at Heartland, Ty left town several times for a variety of reasons, the first time was in the first season when he tried to reconnect with his estranged father. Though he eventually returned, his apparent long-term leave was teased several times given his professional ambitions, finally becoming a reality in season 10, when he enrolled in a prolonged mission to save Gobi bears in Mongolia. Meanwhile, a pregnant Amy waited patiently for him, much to the annoyance of her family.
Besides his trips, Ty fell sick several times throughout the story, including when he was diagnosed with pneumonia, the result of a tick bite back in Mongolia. He recovered well, but that wasn’t the first time he had a near death experience, as back in the fifth season he and Jack had already been involved in a serious bike crash, which happened two seasons after he miraculously survived a ‘plane crash as well.
That being said, Ty endured many difficulties throughout his story, and though his conclusion was rather tragic as well, his character taught “Heartland”s fans many lessons about resilience, love and forgiveness.