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Good TV This Week: 'Longmire' Has the Stuff of a Classic

Clint Eastwood, Gary Cooper, Randolph Scott...

Robert Taylor's Sheriff Walt Longmire in A&E's new " Longmire" -- premiering tonight (6/3) -- has the makings of another classic "strong, silent type" to add to the pantheon of Western heroes and anti-heroes.   However, this Big Sky Country lawman brings a fresh, contemporary character to the Western world.  Australian actor Taylor (with an American accent as perfect as that of his Golden Era Hollywood namesake) said he connected with the script right away, and it shows.  This sheriff has the look and feel of the genuine article.

From the start, it's clear Walt's grief over his wife's death has been debilitating -- his house is in disarray and he has not been on top of his game on the job.  His weasely upstart deputy is trying to take over, running for sheriff against him.  But it's also soon clear that Walt has matchless instincts and knowledge of the ways of the Wyoming wilds and the criminals that lurk therein.  He has a wise and patient friend of 40 years in Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips), and help from new deputy Victoria (Katee Sackhoff), an unflappable city girl from Philadelphia who brings newfangled high tech forensic know-how to the work.

From the best-selling mystery novels by Craig Johnson, the series features well-crafted stories, glorious visuals and details that verify the verisimilitude of Walt's reservation-bordering domain.  You can almost feel the snow crunching under foot and  smell the wood smoke.   Here's hoping "Longmire"  lives up to its early promise for the long haul.

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