Cowgirls 'n Angels 2: Dakota's Summer

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Cowgirls 'n Angels 2: Dakota's Summer Movie Poster Image
Sweet coming-of-age movie will appeal to horse-loving tweens
  • PG
  • 2014
  • 91 minutes

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Kids say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Messages are both clearly stated and demonstrated. Family isn't about blood; it's about heart. Everyone has his or her own strengths and talents. Take the high road; don't stoop to the level of bullies or mean girls. Helping others is a good way to develop self-respect. Even someone who continually makes bad choices can change. When reaching for a goal, it's important to work hard, dig deep, and be the best that you can be.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The film's focus is on the journey of a teen as she learns valuable life lessons about forgiveness, the true meaning of family, how to deal with challenges, and the value of helping others. Dakota develops strength, compassion, and self-confidence. The adults -- parents, coaches, a social worker -- are mostly reliable, wise, supportive, and loving. One irresponsible adult and two very good parents who make one important mistake see the error of their ways and attempt to right the wrongs. The film has an ethnically diverse cast.


A girl falls from her horse several times while "trick-riding." No injuries. Brief and mildly suspenseful scenes include a teen nearly hit by a car and a missing miniature horse.


One romantic kiss. 


A few incidents of name-calling: "troll," "dork," "jerk." The word "hell" is heard in a song lyric.


Dodge cars and trucks, Standard Brand Shoes, Tri-City Bus. Visible logos include Apple, Dell, and Carhartt.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cowgirls 'n Angels 2 is not a sequel to Cowgirls 'n Angels. As in the first movie, the story takes place in a rodeo and ranch setting with lots of horses to admire, but Dakota's Summer has brand-new characters with a teen heroine and a fresh plot. Certain themes are familiar (for example, what constitutes a family, and competition); however, it's more grown-up fare. Tween and teen girls are the target audiences for this coming-of-age story with hints of romance. Child adoption is a key element in the film; it's dealt with in a clear, simple manner. Two mean girls provide some mild conflict with a bit of name-calling, but everything is easily resolved. This generally wholesome movie, with some moderately dramatic moments, is an earnest effort to provide strong messages along with an enjoyable story. 

User Reviews

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Teen, 16 years old Written byLexigreem June 16, 2016

What's the story?

After a humiliating trick-riding rodeo loss in COWGIRLS 'N ANGELS: DAKOTA'S SUMMER, 17-year-old Dakota Rose (the very likable Haley Ramm), learns that she's an adopted child whose family has kept this devastating secret from her. It isn't the adoption itself that upsets her so terribly; it's the lifetime of lies. Furious and feeling very sorry for herself, Dakota decides to spend her summer at her grandparents' ranch. There, amid a newly acquired herd of miniature horses and a host of new friends and responsibilities, Dakota determines to find her "real" parents. When she does, she's torn between the charming woman who abandoned her and the family who raised her. Her growing relationships with a little girl from a foster home and her very wise grandfather (Keith Carradine) help Dakota make important choices and find comfort with her place in the world.

Is it any good?

The film is sweet and earnest and has more than a few compelling moments. Most of the performances are first-rate -- believable and engaging -- unlike so many "family-friendly" films made with limited budgets. Crafted with professionalism and integrity, it's an appealing story despite its predictability and simplistic resolutions. The rodeo sequences focus only on talented teen trick-riders, and they're fun to watch. (No questionable rodeo animal exploitation or harsh treatment is shown.) All in all, this is a heartwarming film that older kids and teens, especially girls, will enjoy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the "troubled" kids that came to Austin's ranch to spend time with the horses. What are your thoughts about why working with animals proves to be healing for "troubled" kids, people with physical challenges, and the elderly? 

  • Think about and/or discuss all the types of families that are successful. What, besides being related, makes a family?​

  • Do you agree with Dakota's method of handling Dawn and Julia (the mean girls)? Why did it work?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love horses

Themes & Topics

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