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Buffalo, Johnson County Officials Are Thankful They Don’t Have Murder Rate of “Longmire” Counterparts

Some of the cast of the A&E Channel series “Longmire,” with show lead Robert Taylor in red shirt, sign autographs at the Old Clear Creek Elementary School gym on Friday. The crowd, Buffalo and Johnson County share some of the same characteristics and characters portrayed in the books and shows, but don’t have the murder and mayhem of their fictional counterparts Durant and Absaroka County.
Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

DURANT (aka BUFFALO), Wyo. — The Sheriff and Mayor of Buffalo love the attention their town is receiving this weekend as fans of the Longmire book and television series will swell the population from the usual 6,000 by 10,000 more.

But they’re glad they don’t have the problems of the town’s fictional alter ego of Durant, or the problems of Sheriff Walt Longmire of the fictional Absaroka County — County No. 24 on the license plates — which is the alter ego of Johnson County in Craig Johnson’s book series.

There’s no comparison between the towns and the counties, at least in terms of crime, Sheriff Steve Kozisek said Friday.

“If we had the number of murders they had, we wouldn’t have anyone left in Buffalo,” Kozisek said.

But it’s not totally foreign, he said.

“Some of the local characters that are portrayed in the (television show) are based on real people here,” he said. “And some of the places are based on real people and places.”

In Buffalo, as in Durant, The Busy Bee restaurant is “Where Longmire Gets his ‘usual’” meal and usual Ranier beer.

Durant is peaceful, too, usually.

But Longmire, played by Robert Taylor, has to deal with some very unpeaceable and complicated people and events.

In the most recent episode, “Population 25,” Deputy Victoria “Vic” Moretti, played by Katee Sackhoff, and her husband Sean look for help after a car wreck and walk into a compound of a bunch of survivalists lead by Chance Gilbert, whose brother was killed by Longmire a ways back.  Longmire thinks Gilbert killed his wife. That’s after lovelorn and former cop colleague Ed Gorski happens to be in the same area stalking Moretti.

Gilbert’s goons puts helmets on the couples’ heads and take batting practice. Meanwhile, his freedom-loving family shoots a Wyoming State Trooper in cold blood.

Longmire eventually confronts Gilbert, persuades him to release Moretti, her husband and Gorski. The last we see of the sheriff and the survivalist is when they shoot pistols at each other. We presume Longmire lives because there’s a new show on Monday, and Taylor is signing posters at autograph sessions this weekend.

So for Kozisek and Mayor Randy Dyess, Buffalo and Johnson County fare well by comparison.

“We don’t kill as many people here,” Dyess said. “That’s a good thing.”

Tourists and Longmire fans aren’t prone to head-bashing or other violence, either, he said.

“This is a law-abiding crowd, and they’re watching a show about law enforcement,” Dyess said. “These are flag-waving, good people who love law enforcement.”

Last year, Longmire Days drew about 6,000 visitors, more than doubling the size of Buffalo, and they didn’t cause any problems, he said.

“Last year, I think here we didn’t even have a parking ticket,” Dyess said.


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