There was a time when the drama series Longmire was the highest-rated original drama on A&E. While the '50s and '60s had their fair share of classic western shows, Longmire is one of the best to come out of the current generation. Running from 2012 to 2017 across two networks and six seasons, Longmire should be at the top of any Wild West fan's watch list.
The crime drama's storyline follows Sheriff Walt Longmire, played by Australian actor Robert Taylor as he defends his Wyoming town of (the fictional) Absaroka County. Taylor, also known for playing Agent Jones in The Matrix, really thrives in the American West. Longmire is assisted by Deputy Vic Moretti, played by Katee Sackhoff, a former Philadelphia homicide detective adjusting to life in Wyoming. Henry Standing Bear, played by Lou Diamond Phillips, is a longtime friend of Longmire who assists him throughout the TV series with the tribal police on the Indian Reservation.
Does the sheriff have some difficulty at the beginning of the series adjusting to life without his deceased wife? Sure. But is he still the right man for the job? Absolutely. His adult daughter Cady, played by Cassidy Freeman, is worried about her father, but she doesn't help things when she decides to start dating his deputy, Branch Connally, played by Bailey Chase, who has helped run the department with "The Ferg" played Adam Bartley. There are bank robberies, conflicts with the Indian reservation, murder investigations, kidnapping, and more; everything a good western series needs.
Here are some things you might not have known about the television series.
1. It's based on the Walt Longmire Mysteries series by Craig Johnson
Author Craig Johnson first debuted his series of mystery novels about Sheriff Longmire in 2004. He has since published 15 novels. We know that Johnson wrote his series to be incredibly authentic; he lives on a ranch in the tiny town of Ucross, Wyoming -- population...25.
2. The novels were so popular, they inspired their own festival
Every year, "Longmire Days" takes place in Buffalo, Wyoming, the inspiration for Absaroka County. Planning for the 2020 festival is currently ongoing based on COVID-19, but is tentatively set for July 16-19 2020. Make sure to check in regularly to the website for updates on cancelation or rescheduling this year.
Cast members from the series even make appearances making this festival seriously cool for any major fans. Celebs slated to show up this year include Robert Taylor, Katee Sackhoff, A Martinez (Cheyenne businessman Jacob Nighthorse who is a villain in later seasons), Zahn McClarnon (Cheyenne Chief of Police), Jeff De Serrano (Cheyenne vigilante and mercenary), Adam Bartley, Bailey Chase, and Louanne Stephens (Ruby, manager of the sheriff's office). That's almost all of the major characters, so you'll feel like you stepped right into the world of Walt Longmire and Absaroka County!
3. The show started on A&E before moving over to Netflix
Despite being the most successful original on A&E, the network decided not to continue running the TV show after the third season. Luckily, Netflix picked it up for the fourth season and kept the Longmire story running through the sixth and final season.
4. Despite being set in Wyoming, the show was not filmed there
Typical Hollywood. The fictional Absaroka county was actually filmed in New Mexico in various towns, including Las Vegas (not Nevada), Santa Fe, Eagle Nest, Espanola, and Red River. Interior scenes were filmed at Santa Fe's University of Art and Design. You can barely tell that the filming locations weren't in actual Wyoming!
5. Robert Taylor based his performance on other Western characters
To bring Walt Longmire to life, Taylor sought inspiration from Clint Eastwood's classic western characters (he's got plenty) as well as Harrison Ford's performance as Indiana Jones.
6. Coach Taylor could have played Longmire
According to IMDB, Kyle Chandler, who played the beloved Coach T on Friday Night Lights, turned down the lead role. While he would have been great, it wouldn't be Longmire without Robert Taylor.
This article was originally published in 2020.