Candy Moulton: Reading the West 7-29-13
Craig Johnson did something many authors aspire to. He created a character so strong and dynamic that Hollywood came calling. Walt Longmire is the fictional sheriff of the fictional Absaroka County in Wyoming. He deals with bad guys and a few good ones, has a tough-as-nails deputy in Vic Moretti, and gets regular and important advice from a Northern Cheyenne, Henry Standing Bear. The books have included “The Cold Dish,” “Hell is Empty,” “As the Crow Flies,” “Another Man’s Moccasins,” “Junkyard Dogs,” “Kindness goes Unpunished” and “The Dark Horse.” Newly released (and I don’t have a copy yet to provide any kind of review) is “A Serpent’s Tooth.”
Last year the A&E Network took Johnson’s Longmire character and developed a television program that became the hit series “Longmire.” The fictional book character is played by Robert Taylor, an Australian actor, who has taken Longmire from print to production and for many viewers “become” the character. Playing the role of Henry Standing Bear is Lou Diamond Phillips while Katee Sackhoff brings Vic Moretti’s character to life. The key role of Deputy Sheriff Branch Connally is played by Bailey Chase.
Filmed in New Mexico, the storyline remains in Wyoming and Robert Taylor will join Craig Johnson and several other cast members at an event in Buffalo, Wyoming, in August. Johnson’s books are set in the fictional town of Durant, but it is based on Buffalo.
The television show, now in its second season, is the highest rated scripted program in A&E history.
Longmire Days will be staged in Buffalo, Wyo., August 16-18. Angela Jarvis, Buffalo Chamber of Commerce Director says local individuals and organizations have pitched in to help including the Kiwanis Club which will host a five-dollar pancake breakfast in the downtown square Saturday August 17, when the actors and Johnson are planning to be on hand to sign autographs and books. In the afternoon a charity softball game will feature the actors and several special guest players with proceeds going to the Wounded Warriors Project.
A free street dance that night will feature Gary Small and the Coyote Brothers. Small has won a number of national awards in Native American music categories. A Pow-Wow is going to be a part of the weekend festivities as well. Throughout the weekend the Buffalo theater will show “Longmire” episodes so you can catcu up on the story or watch your favorite episodes another time.
Craig Johnson and wife Judy make their home on a ranch in Ucross about twenty minutes east of Buffalo.
One of the continual conflicts in most episodes is between the sheriff and a deputy who is running against him in an upcoming election. “Branch” is played by Bailey Chase and he is among the cast members who’ll be in Buffalo for Longmire Days.
A complete schedule is available by contacting the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce at http://www.BuffaloWyo.com. ❖