An optimal performance analysis of a parabolic-trough direct-steam-generation solar-driven Rankine cycle power plant at maximum power (MP) and under maximum power density (MPD) conditions is performed numerically to investigate the effects of heat loss from the heat source and working fluid. In this study, the ideal Rankine cycle of the solar-driven power plant is modified into an equivalent Carnot-like cycle with a finite-rate heat transfer. The main assumptions of this study include that: (a) the parabolic collector is the thermal reservoir at a high temperature, (b) the heat transfer process between the collector and the working fluid is through either radiation and convection simultaneously or radiation only, and (c) the heat transfer process from the working fluid to the low-temperature thermal reservoir is convection dominated. Comprehensive discussions on the effect of heat loss during the heat transfer process from the hot thermal reservoir to the working fluid in the parabolic-trough solar collector are provided. The major results of this study can be summarized as follows: (a) the working fluid temperature at the hot-side heat exchanger decreases remarkably whereas the working fluid temperature at the cold-side heat exchanger does not show any significant change with increasing heat loss, (b) the MP, MPD, and thermal efficiencies decrease with increasing heat loss, and (c) the effect of heat loss on the decrease of thermal efficiency increases when convection is the dominant heat transfer mode at the hot-side heat exchanger.