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The Latest Season of 'Longmire' Is Released from Its New Netflix Home
September 10, 2015  | By Jonathan Storm  | 3 comments

Death comes to Longmire in the first episode of Season 4 of the contemporary Western, unleashed Thursday, Sept. 10, in its 10-episode entirety on Netflix.

Longmire itself was dead for a time when A&E decided a year ago its large audience – the network’s largest ever, in fact, for an original, scripted series – was too old and too difficult to sell to advertisers. Demonstrating they weren’t completely lost in the 20th century, hordes of the elderly took to Facebook and Twitter to protest.

And that demonstrated to Netflix that there was still money to be wrung from the show, which brings us to the present, where feelings of guilt, unusual for a Western, drive much of the action.

Netflix has all four seasons available for viewing, and, whatever your age, you’ll have a treat in store if you have missed this show and start at the beginning. It will not be spoiled here by any plot revelations.

Though it does have a good share of exciting twists and turns, Longmire is an unusual Western, satisfying in unexpected ways, many of them emotional. There are cowboys and Indians and horses, but the wranglers are few and far between, and tricked-out pickups and SUVs heavily out-number the four-legged transportation. Much of the action comes from corruption, which runs rampant through the Native Americans.

Robert Taylor (top and above right, born six years before the matinee idol of the same name died) plays Walt Longmire, sheriff of the fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming. The series is shot in New Mexico and now that the producers don’t have to crank out episodes exactly 42 minutes long [to keep to a TV schedule and make room for advertising], the glorious scenery that has been a key component of the show gets to play an even bigger role.

Taylor’s Australian, but the casting crew made up for that by hiring lots of Native Americans for smaller roles, including the ubiquitous Graham Greene (Oneida). And A Martinez (part Apache and Piegan Blackfeet) and Lou Diamond Phillips (one-eighth Cherokee) have full-fledged supporting positions.

Phillips (left with Taylor) plays Longmire’s best friend, Henry Standing Bear, an inscrutable Cheyenne who owns a bar. Henry runs deep and speaks little, but when he does, it is very clear and deliberate: “We will get him, Walt, and he will pay for what he’s done.”

“Him” is the person responsible for the murder of Longmire’s wife, which happened before the whole series began and has informed (or misinformed) the sheriff’s actions throughout the first three seasons and will continue to do so in the fourth.

Taylor nails the character of a man of action almost paralyzed by grief and obsessed with justice. The show, based on the mystery series of the same name by Craig Johnson, features various stand-alone crimes and capers, of course, including cattle rustling. But what makes it worth watching are its well-drawn characters, all of who bear deep emotional scars, and their long story arcs.

The support is swell. Every sci-fi nerd’s favorite sex symbol, Katee Sackhoff (left), plays a deputy who has fled to Wyoming from the Philadelphia P.D. under a cloud of recrimination. Gerald McRaney, who has been doing TV for more than 40 years, is the tough-as-nails wealthy king of the county, and no friend of Longmire’s. Martinez, whose second TV role in 1968 was “Indian,” gets the juicy role of archvillain and would-be casino mogul Jacob Nighthorse. The scenery is too vast for anyone to shred, but Martinez certainly lights it up in the tense conclusion of the first episode of Season 4.

McRaney and Martinez may have more than 90 years of TV acting between them, but these two veterans can ignite excitement as well any young whippersnapper. And, thanks to the up-to-the-minute technology of Netflix, people of any age who appreciate well-drawn drama played on a vast stage can continue to enjoy their performances.

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bruce beck
One of the best and most addicting things I've ever seen on TV.
Sep 3, 2018   |  Reply
On A&E via Directv, I enjoyed watching Longmire's first 3 seasons & eagerly waited on A&E's season 4. Heard about A&E's unnecessary cancellation then Netflix's season 4. I lack Netflix subscription. I'll wait for Season 4's DVD set. Yes, I'm stuck in the 90s.......
Sep 11, 2015   |  Reply
As long as you keep new Longmire's going I will watch Netflix's. If you are blocked online for any reason try PureVPN for unlimited access.
Sep 10, 2015   |  Reply
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