Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips) agrees to recuperate at Walt’s house if Walt shakes hands on staying away from Jacob Nighthorse (A Martinez). They both agree though Walt takes the wooden stakes used to pin Henry to the ground on the Crow reservation. He turns them over to his perpetually wide-eyed daughter Cady as proof that Nighthorse is no good because he can’t use them as proof in a court of law since the stakes were seized on the reservation without permission. Walt’s trajectory begs the question if Nighthorse is involved with Malachi in kidnapping Henry; why would he use his own stakes that would implicate him? Did I miss something here, or are we dealing with some faulty logic?
Sure enough, my questions are answered when Cady arrives at Nighthorse’s home and repeatedly assaults her boss with one of his own stakes, shouting, “You had Henry tortured?! And Kidnapped?!” Tied to your stakes!” After a security detail sweeps in to save Nighthorse from the wrath of the Longmire family righteous indignation, he explains the stakes were probably swiped from his outlying property lines, not those directly in his backyard where his guards could have stopped any thieves. It seems like a lawyer—even one with inherited hothead temper—would have slowed down to think things through, but we are led to believe that her love for Henry has blindsided her, much like how her dad operates. She later confides to Henry that her father used her to go after Nighthorse.
The most egregious use of police authority (though hardly in the top ten of this series) occurs when Walt spots a car that he believes is Malachi’s and runs it off the road only to find a startled driver who is not Malachi behind the wheel. Like a pit bull, he attacks the man screaming, “This is Malachi’s car!” Vic pulls him off as he calms down, but egads, Walter! (My advice: any time you drive through Absaroka County, have a lawyer or two with you.) Might be a fun exercise to see how many instances of police abuse is represented in this program’s history and then just as quickly forgotten. Betting Walt Longmire can give The Shield’s Vic Mackey a run for his money.
Another “Fever” thread concerns Dub Kayson, a goat farmer who has been shot to death, and Absaroka’s finest is investigating. Could it be connected to the treasure hunters seeking Anson Hamilton’s supposed buried money? Kayson’s land is a popular search area, and any one of them has the potential to be suspects—except maybe one: Lucian Barlow (Peter Weller). He’s oddly wandering about, but no complaints here—always good to have the former leather-tough sheriff show up.
Walt and Vic also interview Cody Branson, who was Kayson’s very bitter stepson and who has an expensive new truck for a man living in a modest apartment. Ample well-placed red herrings, and when a fortune hunter is found at the base of a cliff from either being pushed or accidentally falling, I wasn’t 100% sure of the guilty party. Congrats to writer Boo Killebrew for putting the mystery back into the Walt Longmire Mysteries.
A couple of nice surprises ends “Fever,” including Nighthorse handing over a ledger that proves Malachi was laundering money. He wants Walt to involve the FBI with hopes that the addition of their help will save him. And Travis has had enough of Vic and Walt dancing around their affection for each other, so he plops an engagement ring on the sheriff’s desk with the ultimatum that one of them is going to step up to the plate to take care of her. C’mon on fellas, she doesn’t need any man’s helping hand, and to double down, she’s likely to be severely pissed off that Travis told Walt she’s pregnant.
David Cranmer is the publisher and editor of BEAT to a PULP. Latest books from this indie powerhouse include the alternate history novella Leviathan and sci-fi adventure Pale Mars. David lives in New York with his wife and daughter.