Ford is the show's most important character, since he is the author of all three journals, which Stan, Dipper, and Gideon had ahold of for the entirety of Season 1. Dipper was determined to dedicate the whole summer by cracking the many mysteries surrounding the town of Gravity Falls, while also trying to figure out who wrote the journals.
He plays a very important part surrounding the safekeeping of a rift caused by Stan's irresponsible use of the portal. He and Dipper protected the Mystery Shack by requesting Mabel to retrieve unicorn hair, which they then used to make the Shack Bill-proof. However, Bill saw through this and decided on a pawn to retrieve the rift. Ford and Dipper then went on to raid a dormant UFO to find a better seal for the rift, after it began cracking. However, when Ford offered Dipper his apprenticeship, it lead to Dipper and Mabel fighting with each other, and the rift being inadvertently broken by Mabel due to Bill Cipher tricking her into handing it over, thus, initiating Weirdmageddon.
Ford and Dipper try to banish Bill back to the Nightmare Realm with a powerful weapon, but with no success, due to the unfolding madness of Weirdmageddon. Bill petrifies Ford and emotionally breaks Dipper by not only taking Ford away from him, but destroying all three journals to prevent him from figuring out Bill's weakness. After a failed attempt to escape Gravity Falls a few days later, Bill reconsiders unfreezing Ford to find a way to get rid of the barrier surrounding the town.
Bill unfreezes Ford to gain information about the barrier keeping him and his posse from spreading Weirdmageddon worldwide. Ford refuses to cooperate, testing Bill's patience, and Bill tortures him with volts of electricity to get the desired information. After a long fight between the Shacktron and the Henchmaniacs, Bill takes matters into his own hands. Ford informs Dipper and some of the resistance group that Bill's weakness is actually the Zodiac.
Ford orders Dipper, Mabel, Soos, Wendy, Pacifica, Robbie, Gideon, McGucket, and Stan to hold hands with each other to get the Zodiac working. However, Stan gets into a fight with Ford, causing it to fail. Bill shows up and turns most of the symbol's bearers into tapestries, requiring the Pines to figure out an alternative solution. Ford surrenders to Bill after he captures Dipper and Mabel, but orders him to let the twins and his brother go in exchange for access to this mind. However, it turns out to be a switcheroo by both Stan and Ford, with Bill ending up in Stan's mind instead of Ford's. Ford reluctantly erases the memories of his twin brother's mind to defeat Bill for good by using the Blind Eye Society's weapon.
After Bill was defeated, he and his great nephew and niece tearfully honor Stan's heroic actions to save the town of Gravity Falls and the world from Bill's grasp. Mabel was able to regain Stan's memories later on by going through their summer with him. At the end of the summer, Ford becomes more open to his family, and decides to travel across the world with his twin brother Stan to achieve their childhood dreams after Dipper and Mabel return home to California.
Ford Pines received positive reception from many of the show's fans for being a very mysterious character and having good build up throughout the two seasons.
However, he is polarizing to some fans, with some not being fond of him, since he is resentful to Stanley for misusing the portal, despite Stan going through a lot to save his own brother.
Despite his detracting flaws, some fans have grown fond of Ford from Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons onwards for being a much more respectable member of Dipper's family.
Some fans also appreciate his character growth in the final episode of the show, since he has learned to let go of his past, along with Stan, to pursue their childhood dreams together.