The show centers around the sheriff of a small Wyoming town named Walt Longmire. He's middle aged, built like John Wayne, always has a 5 o'clock shadow, needs a haircut, and stubbornly refuses to carry a cellphone. He's also a damaged soul, having lost his wife to cancer, under mirky circumstances a year before the show begins. Although clearly struggling with the pain of his loss, as a sheriff, he is a no nonsense old school lawman, incorruptible, with the instincts of Sherlock Holmes, but with a much smaller vocabulary. Longmire doesn't talk a lot and when he does its at a low volume. He thinks before he speaks, constantly working a crime scene over with his sad eyes, which comes in handy, since his small Wyoming town has a murder rate that would make Chicago look like a Kindergarten.
But the sheriff has a friend, the Indian owner of the local bar. They go back a long way, mysteriously so, since I just started season two and don't know the full back story. Henry seems to be the moral North Star of the show, wise and discerning, and serves as the de facto representative of the local Cheyanne population on the nearby reservation. The Indian population in Longmire is neither overly virtuous or particularly honorable. Like everyone else, there's the good and the bad, and this show is about good guys and bad guys, not the privileged and the victimized. The friendship between Walt and Henry will be recognizable to real men, and it is the one aspect of the show that draws me, and I dare say goes a long way in explaining its popularity in my demographic.
Then there's Walt's young, ruggedly good looking deputy, Branch, he of the cocky grin and just under the surface entitlement. Did I mention that the kid is running against Walt for sheriff in the upcoming election? Yeah, there's that. Oh, and he's also sleeping with Walt's daughter. That can't be good!
But the show is not all men, all the time. There's a female deputy, Vic, a transplant from Philladelphia, who is a delight to watch. She's impulsive to Walt's deliberate, she's the fast talker to Walt's laconic style, and the two of them seem to have the beginnings of a platonic crush on each other which is kind of adorable.
Each week, along with the undercurrent of something foreboding and mysterious from the past, there's a murder to solve. There are no pyrotechnics, no zombie invasions, no race cars...just boots, dusty jackets, cowboy hats and lots of hat hair. But mostly, there are real men, not the cardboard cutout variety that Hollywood is famous for, the workaholic, one dimensional, detached, idiot fathers who populate sitcoms from coast to coast. These are the kind of men we used to watch back when westerns were all the rage. Walt Longmire is essentially an updated Matt Dillon. If you don't know who Matt Dillion is, then you probably won't like the show. But that's ok, Modern Family comes on in a few minutes!