Equestrians around the world know and love the Canadian drama series Heartland. Though Heartland is known for its heartwarming vibes, it certainly doesn’t hold back when it comes to telling the characters’ stories of struggle, abuse, loss and grief. These are characters with just as many issues as us in the real world. The creators’ acknowledgment of this is part of what makes Heartland a great series. One of the most common Heartland-related questions asked is “Does Amy die in Heartland?”
Amy Fleming has dealt with a great deal of upheaval in her life since the tragedy that devastated the family. Amy’s pain and personal turmoil were very obvious to fans who watched season 14. If you felt the urge through the screen and give her a hug, you won’t have been the first.
If you haven’t quite made it to season 15 yet, it’s understandable that you may be wondering if Amy survives her trauma. Let’s begin with a recap on what Heartland is all about for those new to it or a little rusty. Afterward, we’ll explore what happened to Amy and find out if she is still alive as of season 15.
Warning: spoilers ahead for seasons 13, 14 and 15!
Quick Recap: What is Heartland All About?
First aired in October 2007, Heartland has been running ever since and is now on its fifteenth season. It is set on Heartland Ranch, the family home of the Fleming sisters and their grandfather, Jack Bartlett. The series follows the happenings at Heartland ranch and the family’s work with various horses.
Some of the horse stars of Heartland include Amy’s horse Spartan, played by “Stormy” and “Stetson”, Phoenix, a quarter horse played by “Ghost” and “Jag” and Ty’s horse, Harley, a brown gelding played by “Copper”.
Heartland was filmed in the beautiful town of High River and its surrounding areas. Hopeful fans, unfortunately, cannot visit the actual ranch Heartland was filmed at, but can still visit various filming locations in High River.
Who is Amy Fleming?
Amy Fleming is the protagonist of Heartland. She is a horse trainer who employs natural horsemanship methods in her work. Amy’s early life was troubled — her father, Tim, battled with alcoholism and left when she was a little girl. Tim gets back in contact with his daughters later on, but Jack is more of a father figure, having helped raise and care for the girls.
Amy lost her mother, Marion, as a teenager, to a terrible car accident. Amy and her mother had rescued a horse called “Spartan” just before Marion’s death. Amy’s bond with Spartan is a kind of therapy for her as she deals with the pain of losing her mother. She also remains tight-knit with her sister, Lou, and grandfather, Jack, with whom she lives at Heartland Ranch.
Amy goes on to help innumerable horses and struggling equestrians through her work, keeping her mother’s legacy alive. Amy is overall a loyal, caring character who never hesitates to stand up for what she believes is right. In spite of her difficult early years, she remains level-headed and carves out a life and career for herself with lots of hard work. These qualities are what endear fans to her.
Does Amy Die in Heartland?
At the end of season 13, Amy is seriously injured. While out with her husband, Ty, the pair are caught in the crossfire when a hunter takes aim at a wolf. Ty springs into action and immediately rushes Amy to the hospital.
Fans will no doubt be relieved to learn that Amy survives the gunshot wound, which had missed her vital organs and hit her instead in the shoulder. She recovers and by the end of the final episode, is back out working with her beloved horses.
So, does Amy die in Heartland? The good news is that she doesn’t and is still alive as of season 15. The bad news is that someone close to her never quite recovers from his injuries.
What Happens to Ty in Heartland?
When Ty pushes Amy to the ground to defend her from the gunshot, he fails to recognize that he, too, has been hit. He only notices this at A&E when a nurse points it out to him. By the end of season 13, Ty appears to have recovered and fans were no doubt looking forward to seeing what was next for Amy and Ty in season 14.
The bombshell came in season 14, episode 1. We see a flashback in which Amy and Ty are at the ranch together, breaking in Amy’s wild colt. Their daughter Lyndy and Jack are nearby. The session having been a success, Amy is in a great mood. She asks Ty to put Spartan back and heads towards the house with Lyndy.
At this moment, Ty suddenly collapses. Amy remembers the doctor informing her that Ty had developed a blood clot as a complication of surgery after the gunshot. He had passed away at the age of twenty-nine.
The Aftermath of Ty’s Death
As can be expected, Amy and the family are devastated by Ty’s unexpected, untimely end. Fans expressed shock and heartbreak — Heartland is, after all, a long-running series and fans have built up connections to the characters over the years. Ty Borden was a much-loved character and fan favorite.
As the first episode of season 14 continues, we see Amy struggle to come to terms with losing her soulmate. The actress who plays Amy, Amber Marshall, spoke with TV Insider and said of Ty’s death “You cannot get a more devastating event than the loss of one of your main characters that, for seasons, the viewers have watched grow up.”.
Ty’s memorial service was another heartrending moment for both fans and the family. Marshall, in the same interview, described the memorial service scene as “bittersweet” and “special”.
Why Was Ty Killed off in Heartland?
The actor who played Ty, Graham Wardle, spoke to The Canadian Press and said of leaving Heartland that “I felt in my heart it was time to move in a new direction.”. Amber Marshall mentions also that she knew years in advance that Wardle would leave. Ty’s departure was in the works for a very long time before it actually happened.
It seems that Wardle’s reasons for leaving the show were simply that he wanted to explore other avenues. After all, he had been working on Heartland for more than a decade at the time of his departure! He now has his own podcast called “Time Has Come”.
Life Without Ty: What’s Next for Amy Fleming in Heartland?
After Ty’s death, it becomes more apparent than ever what a brave character Amy is. After a year away from work after Ty’s death, she is back up on the (proverbial and literal) horse in season 14. By episode two, Amy is back to doing what she does best — helping horses and their owners.
This episode specifically shows Amy helping a young girl who isn’t too keen on horses. She continues throughout the series performing, as usual, plenty of heroic acts, throwing herself into the work she is passionate about again.
According to a report by Calgary Herald, Amber Marshall said on life after Ty that “Death is something that impacts all of us at some point in our lives. To see this widowed mother find the strength and courage to move forward for her daughter and really think about what’s best for the family around her and to come together and be that support I think is so important.”
Does Amy Die in Heartland?: Sum Up
- Amy Fleming is the protagonist of Heartland. After a rough childhood, she ends up a respected horse trainer as a result of hard work and determination. She marries Ty Borden and is a great mom to their daughter, Lyndy.
- Amy is shot and injured at the end of season 13 — a worrying moment for fans. Luckily, her husband Ty gets her to the hospital and she pulls through.
- Sadly, Graham Wardle’s character, Ty Borden, doesn’t make it for long after the incident. He passes away from deep vein thrombosis. This was caused by complications of surgery.
- Amy doesn’t die, but goes through a period of drastic change and enters a time of new beginnings in season 14.
Does Amy Die in Heartland?: Final Thoughts
Ty’s death was certainly a sad moment for fans and the cast of Heartland alike. Amber Marshall was spot on when she talked about viewers watching characters “grow up” over years and years of watching a series. For some of us, it feels as though we grow up alongside them.
But Amy is still alive and determined to keep life moving. The character’s experience of grief mirrors ours in real life in this way. The changes that Amy goes through when her life is turned upside down is similar to the kind of “spiritual” or “emotional” death that many of us go through when we face tough times in our lives.
The continuation of Amy’s story is one of quiet acceptance rather than a “phoenix from the ashes” style rebirth. The genuinely likable characters and emotional honesty are what makes Heartland so loved by its fans.