Longmire 6:08: “Cowboy Bill” Episode Review

The spavined storyline of Longmire vs. Nighthorse continues. Nighthorse (A Martinez) wants to stay out of the prison population, preferring solitary confinement where the long reach of Malachi Strand can’t whack him. (Hard to believe it’s even a question that they would toss him in the general population considering he’s a wealthy “leading” citizen of the community.) So, Nighthorse shares with Longmire (Robert Taylor) how to get to Irish mob guru, Shane Muldoon (Dylan Walsh), by leaving comments on a website as user “Sitting Bull.”

It works, and Vic (Kate Sackhoff) and Longmire confront Shane at a tourist attraction. Realizing what he’s up against, Shane promises to give up Malachi. He lied. Instead, a few hours later (or the next day … the timeline on this show can be hard to pinpoint, with characters popping in and out like quarks), FBI Agent Decker (Raphael Sbarge) shows up at Longmire’s ranch to thank him because Muldoon has turned himself in.

FBI making house calls? That rightly seems strange to Longmire, so he has Vic check to see who is heading the case: it's not Decker but another agent named Towson. No surprise to viewers because a couple of episodes back, Decker showed up at the Red Pony after hours to talk to Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips), and it just seemed to smell of a dirty agent.

Cady Longmire’s (Cassidy Freeman) office is ransacked, and a message is scrawled across her wall that warns, “Keep your hands off our kids.” Her assistant, Mandy (Tamara Duarte), explains to Cady why the reservation now dislikes her, “The first time, you shot a white man. And the second time, you acted like one.”

The young woman makes a good point, but unfortunately, it was Mandy that let the mob in to trash the office. She further enlightens Cady that she lives on the reservation and has to get along with her neighbors, whereas her boss gets to come and go regardless of consequences. When Cady fires Mandy, the now out-of-work assistant, through tears, leaves a parting warning for Cady, “… you should really know that people are really mad, and I don't think even you are strong enough to get through this.”

The Ferg (Adam Bartley) is wondering why Meg (Mary Wiseman) isn’t returning his calls, and he visits her old boyfriend Reggie (Joe Coots) because Meg’s mom says Reggie would know where she is. Reggie claims he doesn’t, but Ferg begins to build a crazy idea that Reggie is the local bank robber, Cowboy Bill.

Plowing ahead, Ferg even goes so far as to arrest Reggie on some incredibly circumstantial evidence. Later, Longmire tells Ferg that his theory has too many holes and then apologizes for being a bad influence, “I focus on the evidence that supports my gut instinct.” Sure enough, someone corroborates Reggie’s alibi. But Ferg’s legwork still pays off. He discovers that a series of stolen license plates are from owners who each has a relative at the Pine Mountain Rehab Center, and it seems Cowboy Bill has been swiping them from the vehicles parked outside the rehab building and using the plates during the crime sprees. Little consolation for Ferg because Meg is pissed off over his accusations, and she breaks up with him.

Longmire makes a large cerebral leap—just as far as Ferg’s, but I guess Longmire’s gut is a little better tuned in to criminal vibes—quickly deducing that Bob Barnes (John Bishop), who has a son at the rehab center, is Cowboy Bill. Longmire goes to Bob’s trailer, but he’s not there, and the sheriff sees the expensive rehab bills and pictures of Bob and his son in happier times.

Just then, Vic calls Longmire over the radio to say Cowboy Bill has hit another bank and is surrounded by police. Arriving at the bank where Cowboy “Bill” has a floor full of hostages, Longmire walks past all the cops, goes into the bank, and calmly begins talking about the Bob he knows, saying, “No matter how hard up or desperate he was, he’d never scare anybody … or hurt ’em.” After a brief contemplation of suicide, Bob turns his weapon over to Longmire and apologizes to the bank customers. As Longmire leads him away, he tells Bob he can cover the next rehab payment. Tragic, poignant ending. One of the finest in the show’s six years.

See also: Longmire 6.07: “Opiates and Antibiotics” Episode Review


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.


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