Heartland is a CBC series beloved by equestrians and horse lovers the world over. Some fans have been watching Heartland ever since it debuted in 2007 and have grown close to recurring characters as a result. The sudden death of a fan favorite in season 14 left fans with a lot of questions. “Does Jack die in Heartland?” is a common Google search amongst Heartland enthusiasts.
It’s no secret to Heartland fans that Jack Bartlett hasn’t always had the easiest time of it. The character has certainly been put through the wringer in terms of loss and grief. He is the family rock who spends a lot of his time comforting and supporting those around him. Additionally, his health scare in season 6 left viewers wondering if he was going to make it. So, does he?
Let’s begin with a quick refresher for those a little rusty and then explore Jack Bartlett’s character in a bit more depth.
**Warning: spoilers ahead!**
What is Heartland?
Heartland TV series is set in the fictional town of Hudson, Alberta, though the real town where it was filmed is called “High River”. The series homes in on the lives of a family living and working on Heartland Ranch. Protagonist Amy Fleming is a natural horse trainer and Jack Bartlett is her grandfather, who helped raise Amy and her sister, Lou.
Indeed, the biggest theme of Heartland is family. Its focus is on not only how the family works with and heals troubled horses, but also how they pull together and support each other through the most difficult of times. The character of Jack Bartlett is the epitome of all of these values and more.
Who is Jack Bartlett?
Jack Bartlett is the Heartland Ranch patriarch. Known and respected for his rodeo days, Jack was born at and has always lived at the ranch. Particularly, he is a staple in Amy and Lou’s lives as their grandfather. He helped to raise the girls in the absence of their father, Tim Fleming. Sadly, Jack lost his own daughter, Marion — the girls’ mother — to a car accident.
Despite his gruff appearance, Jack is a gentle soul who cares deeply for his family. He is fiercely protective of them and is pretty much the glue that holds the family together in the toughest times. Jack Bartlett is one of Heartland’s most beloved characters.
In the comments section of the YouTube video “Interview with Heartland Actor Shaun Johnston”, several fans expressed their appreciation for Jack. One user commented “… everyone needs a Jack in their lives” and another called actor Shaun Johnston “the heart of Heartland”.
What does Jack do in Heartland?
Jack owns Heartland Ranch, where he is a cattle rancher. He is also in a partnership with Heartland Beef. In his younger years, he was a rodeo star and is known for this talent.
Does Jack Die in Heartland?
Jack had a heart attack in season 6 episode 18, ending the season on a cliffhanger and leaving fans anxiously waiting to learn if he had survived. Fortunately, Jack made it through and recovered from his illness. Sadly, another beloved character close to Jack passed away in season 14, devastating the whole family.
Jack Bartlett and Other Heartland Characters
Jack ‘s relationship with his granddaughters is one of the most heartwarming things about Heartland. But what about his relationship with other characters?
Earlier on, we mentioned Amy and Lou’s difficult relationship with their father, Tim Fleming, who abandoned them as children. Tim had a tumultuous relationship with his wife, Marion, and spent a lot of time away from home. He cut off contact with his family after a stint in rehab for drug addiction.
Though Tim later becomes a part of the family’s lives again, Jack never quite got over his abandonment of his daughters and considers him a bit of a waste of space. Their relationship remains rocky, even to the point of physical altercations at times. Jack’s protectiveness makes forgiving Tim no easy feat.
Jack was first married to Lyndy Bartlett, Amy and Lou’s grandmother. Years after her passing, Jack became involved with Lisa Stillman. Lisa owns Fairfield Stables and breeds horses. The two were friends for a long time before they made their relationship official.
The relationship became strained in season 12 when Lisa made the decision to head to Istanbul. Jack eventually got over his anger and the two parted on good terms, still very much husband and wife. Lisa is a huge support for Jack throughout the series, which he needs as he’s often busy taking care of everyone else before himself.
Ty Borden was formerly a ranch hand who became Amy’s husband in season 8, episode 18. Ty makes a poor first impression on both Amy and Jack when he arrives at the ranch. His dangerous driving, smoking and fighting don’t sit well with the family. Jack gives Ty a chance, however, and the two eventually become like father and son.
This is the second time Jack has taken on a fatherly role. Understanding how hurt Ty has been by his own abusive father, Jack empathizes with him and takes him under his wing. The pair’s relationship is one of the most touching aspects of Heartland. When tragedy strikes in season 14, Jack and the family are left to pick up the pieces.
What Happened to Ty Borden?
When Ty and Amy were shot at the end of season 13, they were shown to make a full recovery. Sadly, this wasn’t to last. In season 14 episode 1, it is shown that Ty had passed away sometime after the accident. He had developed deep vein thrombosis as a complication of surgery. His death was sudden and completely out of the blue.
As always, Jack is on hand to support Amy as best as he can. That said, he himself struggles significantly with Ty’s loss. At Ty’s memorial, Jack reminisces about the time Ty went to Mongolia, describing it as “like having a son go off to war”. Ty’s passing deeply affected Jack and the whole family.
Is Jack in Heartland Season 15?
Yes! Jack is still in Heartland as of season 15. He’s still living and working at the ranch and has recently invested in a new herd of cattle. You can catch season 15 on CBC Gem if you’re living in Canada.
Who Plays Jack Bartlett in Heartland?
Canadian actor Shaun Johnston plays Jack Bartlett in Heartland. Shaun was born in Ponoka, Canada and has been acting since 1990. He dropped out of his law degree and switched to drama at the University of Alberta. He mentions this in his interview with Rave it Up TV.
Since then, he has been in several films and television series including Wyonna Earp and Da Vinci’s Inquest. He has won many film and TV awards and his work on Heartland earned him a Gemini nomination. According to the official CBC profile page for Shaun Johnston, Shaun enjoys playing hockey and guitar in his downtime.
He has also organized and raised funds for quite a few different charities. If we may say so, Shaun Johnston, like his character Jack, seems to be a pretty cool guy. In his interview with Rave it Up TV, he came across as super down-to-earth and friendly.
Does Jack Die in Heartland?: Sum Up
- Jack Bartlett is one of the most loved characters in Heartland. He is often viewed as the family “rock” and is often seen supporting and comforting his family in rough times.
- Jack grew up on Heartland Ranch. His father left the ranch to him when he died. He helped raise his granddaughters at the ranch and is very protective of them.
- The character had a heart attack at the end of season 6 but survived.
- In season 14, Jack supported his granddaughter Amy after the death of her husband, Ty. Jack was deeply affected by Ty’s death, having viewed him as a son.
- The character of Jack is still safe and well in Heartland as of season 15.
- Jack Bartlett is played by legendary Canadian actor Shaun Johnston.
Does Jack Die in Heartland?: Final Thoughts
On CBC’s Heartland blog, a fan asked actor Shaun Johnston what he likes most about playing Jack. He responded, “I have two sons myself and what I like the most about Jack is how much he loves his family.” He also responded to another fan “I think I do have a lot of Jack’s character inside of me at all times.”
It’s easy to see why Jack Bartlett is such a fan favorite. Closely underneath his coarse, straight-talking exterior is a gentle soul with a heart of gold. This makes us extra happy that Jack has made it to season 15 and is still very much the heart of the show. If you’d like to rewatch former episodes of Heartland, you can get it on Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. Check out our article How Many Seasons of Heartland are on Netflix for more on this!