In 2011, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, 39 grizzly bears were captured; 23 of those grizzlies were relocated to new surroundings, away from humans. So, the premise in the latest episode of Longmire, “The Worst Kind of Hunter,” is within the realms of reality: A bear with a bad record with cattle attacks a human, and is believed to be the killer of a killer. Still, although the dead man is himself a vicious killer, Sheriff Walt Longmire is bound by duty to bring his alleged murderer to justice—in this case, a grizzly bear named Waffles.
Of course, when good writers are involved, nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and this A&E show does have good writers. However, one “tell” that may start giving away the killers in the episodes: If someone offers to pony up some cash for Walt’s re-election campaign, watch out. In this case, retired prison warden Dan Blackburn (Graham Beckel) decided to take the law into his own hands and dispose of murderer Ed Crawley, who killed a 17-year-old girl 20 years previous, and was to be serving 25-to-life, but got out on “good behavior.” And, he did so in a most gruesome kind of way: He tied steak to Crawley and let Waffles—who, once again, was known to have a taste for beef—have at him.
This episode was directed by Peter Weller, playing the grumpy former sheriff—and uncle of Deputy Branch Connally—Lucian Connally. If the name sounds familiar but you just cannot place this talented actor of stage and screen, one word may bring his identity into focus: Robocop. His directing credits include House M.D., Sons of Anarchy, Monk, and Homicide: Life on the Street. Weller is also going to be in the upcoming Star Trek sequel, for those who are into that franchise. And, interestingly, he plays in a jazz band with actor Jeff Goldblum.
Waffles Framed As Killer?
Waffles, no doubt, would have been given a death sentence had the ever-diligent Sheriff Longmire not come to his rescue. But, in the end, with the framed Waffles caged and on a trailer, the sheriff makes a request to the bear that she stay as far away from town as she can, and Waffles grunts her response—presumably in the affirmative. The sheriff opens the door to the cage, and the bear casually makes her way into untamed country, turning back only for a moment to look at her hero before making her way into the wilderness.
Grizzly bears are just a part of life in Wyoming, indicates A&E. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is home to an estimated 600 grizzly bears, and Yellowstone National Park—almost 3,500 square miles across three states—is primarily in Wyoming, where the storyline of Longmire is set.
Longmire airs on A&E on Sunday nights at 10/9c.
Image: Wikimedia Commons