Top positive review
74 people found this helpful
Authentic Western Mysteries (a review of the whole first season)
on September 6, 2012
The Rocky Mountain West, including Wyoming, is a unique part of the country. It isn't the Midwest, and it isn't even remotely like the West Coast. Here, for better or worse, the old mountain man ethos lives on--the rugged individual, fighting alone, up against Nature Red in Tooth and Claw. The worst teeth and claws, though, belong to fellow humans.
Sheriff Walt Longmire is feeling a little old and tired, and he's still grieving his wife's death, but he keeps on because he's driven to fight those evils and to protect the young, the weak, the vulnerable. His best friend, Henry Standing Bear, is a Cheyenne who owns and runs a bar--the Red Pony--out on the border of the rez. Henry keeps well in touch with his spiritual roots, and his laconic but peppery advice keeps Walt in line.
Then there's Walt's grown daughter Cady, a lovely--and pretty hot--lawyer; there's Branch, the handsome, up-and-coming deputy who wants Walt's job; there's Victoria Moretti, the blonde, no-nonsense deputy from Philadelphia Walt trusts, and The Ferg, who is also a deputy and would like to be a good one when he grows up; there's Ruby, the office manager who keeps him tethered to the community no matter how far he wanders into the wilderness of mountains or his own mind--the list of great secondary characters goes on and on.
The Western natural settings are authentic (though not actually shot in Wyoming), and the brooding wide open spaces join the cast in creating stories that blend the recent half-civilized past with the not-quite-civilized present. The actors are well-chosen for their parts, especially Robert Taylor as Walt, Lou Diamond Phillips as Henry, and Bailey Chase as Branch, and they all do a stellar job of portraying their characters. The dialog is NOT crisp--we westerners don't talk that way--it's real and telling.
If you like stories about the genuine contemporary West, or if you like character-driven mysteries, you will love these episodes. My only criticism, the eternal caveat of a reader, is that the filmed stories are not as good as the books that inspired them, even though author Craig Johnson was a close adviser. Enjoy the television episodes--and then find Johnson's terrific books to really enter Walt's world and get to know him and the other characters.