As far as pulling the plugs, I wouldn't bother in this case. I'd just try to slowly turn the crankshaft about a quarter to half of a turn to ensure the engine isn't locked up.
As for checking the ground circuit, you can do this with a voltmeter as follows:
Set the voltmeter to 12 Volt scale. Connect the voltmeters Positive lead to a good bare metal spot on the engine (or preferably at the starter in this case). Connect the Negative lead to to the batteries Neg terminal. With a helper, have them try to crank the engine while observing the voltmeter.
Any reading of more than .2 volts (that's tenths of a volt) would indicate high resistance in the circuit and would merit further checking. Note, if your using an older analog meter and did not notice any reading, switch to a lower scale and repeat the test.
This test is a called a volt drop test. The reason for using this test rather than setting the meter to continuity (Ohms) is this tests the circuit under an electrical load.
For example, if you only had a few good strands of battery cable still making a good connection, say due to internal corrosion, you would still read continuity. However, the electrical resistance under load would be to high to allow sufficient current flow to turn the starter.
To isolate the problem, if any is noted, you'd simply move the Positive lead to the engine block, then to the ground strap, then piercing the Negative cable about midway, etc. back to the battery neg cable clamp. At some point the voltage would drop to less than .2 volts, indicating you past the problem area.
2001 Ranger Edge 3.0 V6, 5 speed M/T
Limited Slip Differential, James Duff Traction Bars
Kumho 30x9.50 15 MT / Black 297 Series 15x7 Rims
Last edited by Rev; 12-20-2011 at 01:44 PM.