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The Entire Longmire Timeline Explained

Based on the hit series of "Walt Longmire Mystery" novels by Craig Johnson, "Longmire" was one of the most successful shows on A&E, at one point becoming the network's highest-rated original drama. After three seasons on the network, however, it was canceled — until Netflix scooped it up and gave it new life. "Longmire" ran on the streamer for another three seasons, and proved to be just as exciting as ever. With six seasons and 63 episodes, there's a lot of intrigue and mystery surrounding the fictional Absaroka County (which lies just near the top of Wyoming, bordering Montana), but nothing that Sheriff Walt Longmire and his group of deputies can't handle.

Neo-Westerns are all the rage nowadays, with northwestern states like Montana and Wyoming seeing a lot more action in shows like "Yellowstone" and "Big Sky," but none of them have quite the same charm as "Longmire." It's actor Robert Taylor's off-the-grid but by-the-books take on Walt Longmire that brings a refreshing honesty and integrity that most modern crime dramas tend to lack. Even when the rustic lawman is at his wit's end, his true north always re-directs him to the right side of the law. Even for hardcore fans, the "Longmire" saga can be a bit confusing at times, especially with the mystery surrounding the murder of Walt's wife, so here's the entire "Longmire" timeline presented in chronological order.

The early life and times of Walt Longmire

Walt Longmire grew up in Absaroka County, specifically the town of Durant, and like many Wyoming natives, he lived close to home just about his entire life. As the son of a rancher, he quickly learned how to handle both cattle and horses, making him a born and bred cowboy. At 12 years old, Walt and Henry Standing Bear, a Cheyenne native, became quick friends, and remained close long after they graduated from the sixth grade. As a young man, Walt met the love of his life, Martha; after their youthful courtship, the two would later be happily married for years. A force in her own right, Martha was a staple of the Durant community, and often fought for environmental and ecological causes. 

Years later, their daughter Cady was born, with Henry named her godfather, and Walt ran for sheriff and won by a landslide after his mentor and predecessor, Lucian Connally, retired. Around the same time, Henry opened the Red Pony bar, where he worked throughout the series. In 2010, Walt would discover that the Cheyenne Reservation Tribal Police Chief, Malachi Strand, was using his position to support a money-laundering operation; with Henry's help, he arrested Malachi for extortion. Even though this promoted Walt's occasional ally Mathias to Tribal Police Chief, it also strained Walt's relationship with the CRTP, as well as select members of the Cheyenne Reservation.

Tragedy strikes

For years, businessman Jacob Nighthorse lobbied to build a casino on the reservation, arguing that its arrival would bring new jobs and help build a better economy for his people. Unsurprisingly, there were many in Absaroka County who opposed the idea — including Martha Longmire, who actively and vocally fought against the casino's development. Because of her prominence in the community, people listened to Martha, who persuasively argued that the building of the casino would only increase crime in their area, including prostitution and drug-running. She was right: While on a trip to Denver, Martha was killed by an addict named Miller Beck, her death made to look like an accident. Walt traveled to the city in a rage, hoping to find Beck, only to be stopped by Henry before doing something he'd regret. 

Secretly, Henry hired a Cheyenne vigilante named Hector to kill Beck on his behalf. Although Hector did travel to Denver, he didn't kill Beck, instead beating him severely and removing several of his teeth. As it turned out, Beck was hired to kill Martha by a go-between named David Ridges, who himself was secretly working for greedy Wyoming land developer Barlow Connally. Walt, however, was convinced that either Malachi Strand or Jacob Nighthorse had his wife killed and became increasingly antagonistic toward them. In an effort to keep Cady safe, Walt lied to her about the cause of Martha's death, instead blaming her previous cancer diagnosis. He kept Martha's ashes in a wooden tea box, refusing to let her go.

Back to work

For the year following Martha's murder, Walt became something of a recluse, refusing to own a cell phone and delegating many of his job responsibilities onto deputies Archie "Ferg" Ferguson, Victoria "Vic" Moretti, and Branch Connally, the son of land developer Barlow and nephew to former Sheriff Lucian. In the meantime, Cady, grown up and working as a lawyer, moved back home to help take care of her grieving father and slowly began a relationship with Branch. As Walt got back into the swing of things, he and his team took on various cases involving rogue Mennonites, drug busts, local brothels, and more. 

As Walt and his crew hustled to deal with Absaroka County's increasing caseload, the Cheyenne Reservation became more unstable. The vigilante Hector worked overtime to avenge his people from wrongdoers, while Walt and Mathias were forced to team up to bring justice wherever possible. Of course, Walt antagonizing Jacob Nighthorse didn't help either. Although Walt was mostly focused on his work, he remained haunted by the ghosts of his past, particularly his fury-fueled actions in Denver. Unbeknownst to Walt, the man who killed his wife, Miller Beck, was murdered by a Cheyenne Dog soldier named David Ridges.

An unquiet mind

Attempting to contact Walt, a detective from Denver named Fales instead ended up getting ahold of Cady, and when they spoke, he explained that her mother was murdered. Fales traveled to Durant to speak to Walt, revealing his investigation into the death of Miller Beck and questioning Walt about the murder, which Walt denied having any part of. Sick of her father's secrecy, Cady traveled to Colorado for more information and gave Fales a false lead on Henry, who had previously implied to Walt that he had killed Beck himself. Around this time, Walt's deputy Vic dealt with a stalker from her past named Ed Gorski, who ended up beaten in the hospital. Thinking Vic may have hired Hector to scare Gorski off, Walt smuggled the vigilante across county lines only to be found out by Henry.

Henry revealed that he hired Hector to kill Beck in Denver, but Hector reassured them that he didn't kill Beck at all — he only beat him and took his teeth, which he then gave to Henry. With Henry his prime suspect, Detective Fales returned to Wyoming to search Henry's Red Pony bar for evidence and found Beck's missing teeth. This resulted in Henry being sent to prison, where he was tormented by Malachi Strand as revenge for helping Walt arrest him. Eventually, Cady got Henry out on bail, and Walt vowed to keep him out permanently. By some miracle or curse, Malachi was released shortly after.

Ashes to ashes

Because of their opposing views on law enforcement, Walt and his deputy Branch ran against each other for sheriff. Walt won, but on election day, Cady was hit in a car accident and taken to the hospital. Upon investigating the scene, Branch discovered that Cady's tire had been intentionally punctured and tracked down the culprit, David Ridges. After learning that Ridges was supposedly dead, Branch attempted to prove his theory by collecting DNA evidence of Ridges' ashes, only to be attacked by Ridges himself. After a peyote-laced feather was pulled from Branch's wound, Walt was left unsure of Branch's eyewitness testimony. Shortly after, Ridges brutally murdered Hector on the reservation.

Branch's trauma messed with his mind as he slowly crumbled to pieces, alienating himself from Cady and the department. Branch's obsession with finding Ridges led him to him cross multiple lines, including kidnapping. This resulted in Walt putting Branch in jail until his father, Barlow, bailed him out. Desperate, Walt went to his nemesis Jacob Nighthorse for help, leading to a confrontation with Ridges during which Walt killed the Dog Soldier in self-defense. After Ridges' death, Walt and Henry dug up Miller Beck's body and found evidence that it was David Ridges who had killed Beck after first hiring him to kill Walt's wife. With Cady's help, Henry was exonerated, and Walt, another step closer to the truth, found the catharsis he needed to spread Martha's ashes.

Dust to dust

In the fallout, Branch was suspended from the Sheriff's Department. Wasting no time, Barlow immediately offered his son a position in the family business, which Branch soon accepted. Branch, suspecting Jacob Nighthorse as the culprit behind Ridges' attacks, looked into Barlow's financial history. Unhappy with what he found, he confronted Barlow about wiring $50,000 to Nighthorse the week of Martha Longmire's murder. Barlow admitted to having "borrowed" Ridges from Nighthorse's employ and sending him to Denver to kill Walt's wife, all in the name of getting Branch elected Sheriff. Horrified, Branch pulled a gun on his father, but Barlow shot him dead.

Covering it up as a suicide, Barlow tried to move on, hoping to have time to "make another son." Walt became consumed in investigating Branch's death, which he soon believed to be a murder. In the episode "High Noon," Walt finally put the ruse together, realizing that Barlow had been playing him the whole time. It's here that Walt put the final pieces together and acknowledged that Barlow killed his wife. After Barlow pulled an empty gun on Walt, the Sheriff shot him. Always wanting the upper hand, Barlow stabbed himself repeatedly to frame Walt for his murder. It didn't quite stick, but it did cause a heap of other troubles for Walt later on.

Hector lives

After the official opening of Nighthorse's casino and Hector's sudden death, the Cheyenne Reservation needed a new avenger, someone to right all the wrongs and injustices that the courts and Tribal Police wouldn't. Fresh out of prison, Malachi Strand forcibly took the Red Pony from Henry, leaving him out of a purpose. He decided that the best way to serve the reservation would be as "the new Hector" and he started his work as a vigilante, helping enact justice. 

After some time, Henry learned that Tribal Police Chief Mathias had discovered his identity. Mathias chose to let Henry continue his work avenging the reservation — on the condition that he'd go after the targets of Matthias' choosing (such as heroin dealers). When Walt discovered Henry's nightly activities, a full-on fistfight erupted between them, straining their friendship. Thankfully that didn't last and Henry eventually moved away from his vigilantism entirely — mostly because he was too busy elsewhere.

The casino's curse

Soon after Nighthorse's casino officially opened, crime became more rampant across Absaroka County. Walt was forced to hire a new deputy after Branch's death and eventually settled on Zachary Heflin. Unfortunately, like Branch before him, Zach was somewhat uneven-tempered and started breaking the rules (although unlike Branch, he avoided kidnapping). Wishing to avoid another incident, Walt fired Zach, but not before acknowledging that he was a good man and wishing him the best.

After Walt pursued a rape case on the reservation, Cady opened a Legal Aid office to help the Cheyenne people unable to afford the same kind of legal representation available to rich men like Jacob Nighthorse. Although it took a while for the community to trust her, she ultimately did a lot of good there. And in a completely sudden turn of events, Walt's favorite deputy Vic learned she was pregnant. Tragically, she lost the baby on the job after an intense shootout, nearly crippling her emotionally.

Mob conspiracy and continual soiree

Due to the casino's popularity, the Boston Irish Mob came to into Absaroka County to move heroin through the reservation. After some serious investigation, it was revealed that the Mob had direct connections to Malachi Strand, working as the head of security at Nighthorse's casino. Believing that Walt wouldn't deal with Malachi properly, Nighthorse and Henry kidnapped the onetime Tribal Police Chief, revealing evidence of his illegal activities at the Red Pony. Henry forced Malachi to sign the bar back over to him and Nighthorse scarred him, effectively banishing him from the reservation.

Walt decided that the only way to deal with the Irish would be to travel to Boston and confront mob boss Shane Muldoon. Walt told Muldoon that Absaroka County was off limits and threatened to expose him to the FBI. While it seemed like the Irish left Wyoming at first, it turned out there was a new "Hector" out there who seemed to be working with criminal intent. With help from his former deputy Zach Heflin, Walt discovered that one of Muldoon's top men was working under Malachi's orders. This led Walt and Vic back to the mob boss, who confessed to his illegal activities in Wyoming. 

The aftermath of violence

As if things couldn't get worse for Walt's personal life, he was soon forced into a civil suit with the deceased Barlow Connally's estate, headed up by a man named Tucker Baggett, the heir to Barlow's fortune. Baggett's plan was simple: He hoped to win the suit so he could take Walt's land and use it to build a 36-hole golf course to complement Nighthorse's casino. But even with the weight of Absaroka's crime wave heavy on his shoulders, Walt wouldn't give up without a fight. As it turned out, he didn't have to fight long — Baggett was brutally murdered on the reservation. Unfortunately, this left Walt as the only clear suspect.

Walt quickly discovered that Lucian Connally killed Baggett in an effort to save his former protege from more harm at the hands of his own family. Lucian eventually confessed to Walt, then opted to kill himself instead of going to prison, much to Walt's sadness. Lucian didn't leave Walt empty-handed, though, bequeathing Walt the evidence to exonerate himself and a suicide note with his confession. After dealing with the civil suit for months, Nighthorse testified on Walt's behalf, with a plethora of evidence that revealed all of Barlow Connally's attempts to discredit the Sheriff. With nowhere left to turn, the prosecution dropped the entire case, leaving Walt nearly free — and for the first time considering retirement as his only way out.

Goodbye is always implied

Although Malachi had been banished, his hands were still deep in all the criminal activity across Absaroka County. In desperation, Malachi's men resorted to kidnapping Henry and Nighthorse so the latter would sign the deed to his casino over to Malachi. Walt and his crew searched relentlessly for the pair, eventually discovering Malachi's hideout in the Crow Nation. After Henry escaped, Walt, Vic, Mathias, Ferg, and a re-deputized Zach arrived to rescue Nighthorse and finally take down Malachi and his goons for good. After an intense firefight, Walt fatally shot Malachi, ending it once and for all.

Not long after, Walt retired, deciding to live out the rest of his life in peace. Acknowledging that Vic could never replace Martha and Walt would never replace Vic's baby, Walt and Vic finally started a romantic relationship. Walt also encouraged Cady, who'd started dating Zach, to run for sheriff, and Henry took over the casino from Nighthorse (who, as it turned out, had been in some bad business with the Irish Mob after all). As the series came to a conclusion, Walt, finally carrying a cell phone, decided to search for a lost treasure that Lucian Connally claimed to have found before his death — setting off on horseback, as every cowboy should.