Steam rises around a ruggedly handsome middle-aged man as he showers in a partially constructed wooden stall. The jagged scars on his back reveal he is no stranger to violence. The phone rings, and he listens intently as a female voice on the outgoing message declares that no one is home at the Longmire residence. After the beep, a frantic woman's voice echoes through the house. The woman's name is Vic, and she commands Walt to pick up the phone. When he doesn't, she grudgingly continues her message, saying that Billy and Bob Barnes need someone to go out to Pronghorn Ridge, and since it's her day off, she doesn't want to go.
While Walt Longmire gets dressed in faded jeans and ranch boots, Vic leaves another message alternately demanding and begging him to join her at Pronghorn Ridge. Walt takes his time, lingering with his hand on a tin box labeled "tea," before fixing a cup of coffee. Just as the phone rings again, Walt notices an owl in a tree outside the kitchen window. It's Vic again with just one thing to say: "We have a dead body."
From the pistol on his desk, and the Sheriff star pinned to the worn leather jacket he pulls on, it's clear this isn't the first time Walt has heard those words. He grabs a rifle, pulls his cowboy hat low over his eyes, and exits the half-constructed wooden ranch house.
The Bronco pulls up to Pronghorn Ridge where Walt's deputy, Victoria "Vic" Moretti, is waiting. She tells him the Barnes boys are waiting in their beat-up camper, and points out the body lying 200 yards away. Through binoculars Walt sees ravens circling the body... of a dead sheep. Vic's ploy to get Walt out there doesn't win her the day off; he goads her into staying to do the interviews.
Good ol' boy father and son, Bob and Billy Barnes are drinking beer for breakfast. They claim to have camped there overnight with plans to go hunting in the morning, but they weren't the ones who shot the sheep, and don't know who did. As there are no footprints in the snow, Walt wonders how they could see the dead animal 200 yards away. Billy claims that he saw it through the high-powered scope on his rifle. Walt examines the scope and realizes his story is plausible, but still suspicious.
Walt and Vic trudge through the snow towards the sheep with Vic complaining every step of the way that this is a waste of her time and talent. Walt is amused, but has no intention of letting her go home.
While examining the sheep, Walt spots ravens circling something else. There is another body in the snow - and this one is human. A man, face down with a shotgun frozen in his hand. They roll the body over and discover two important clues: the body is dry underneath indicating it fell before the snowfall began, and the bloody exit wound is in his chest, so he must have been shot in the back. Walt sniffs the gun barrel and deduces that the victim did not fire back. Even more worrisome, Walt knows every face in the county, but not this one. So where did this guy come from?
Walt drives into the small town of Durant, Wyoming with the body laid out in his back seat wrapped in a tarp. As he cruises down Main Street, a handsome Cheyenne man, Henry Standing Bear, raises his arm in greeting. Walt flashes him a smile and continues on. Henry stares after the Bronco with a worried expression.
Walt parks the Bronco and looks at a plastic bag containing the victim's personal effects, including his driver's license and a wedding picture. The man's name was Grant Parkford. As Walt exits his vehicle, someone looks on from a window across the street.
Walt stops in the street to pick up a discarded cigarette butt. As he stands, he finds himself face-to-face with Deputy Branch Connally, handsome as a Ken doll and at least a decade younger than Walt. The animosity between them is palpable. Branch chides Walt for missing a pancake breakfast. Walt retorts that he was out tending to the police side of the job while Branch was busy glad-handing. Branch is taken down a notch when he learns a man was shot.
As they head into the Sheriff's station, Branch needles Walt about not owning a cell phone, and for his frequent absences. Walt rebukes Branch for not being a team player, then fills him in on Parkford's death while making it clear that Vic is the lead deputy on the case.
When they enter the Sheriff's office, Ruby, the motherly dispatcher and office manager, bustles after Walt firing off a barrage of messages. One is from Walt's daughter, Cady. He asks Ruby to cancel his lunch date with her.
Walt directs Branch to investigate Parkford's gun and hunting license, the plates from the crime scene, and potential witnesses. "The Ferg," another young deputy is sent to join Vic at the scene. Walt decides that he'll make the five-hour drive to Wheatland to inform the victim's next of kin himself. As soon as he's gone, Walt's team worries that he hasn't done this kind of work in a while.
Walt hesitates outside Parkford's house, then finally knocks on the door. He is greeted by Susan Parkford, the victim's pretty wife. Walt introduces himself, taking care to remove his hat as he goes in.
Inside, Walt asks Susan if she knows where her husband is. Grant Parkford was a teacher, and she believes he is at a conference in Laramie - nowhere near Durant. As Walt's discomfort grows, Susan becomes hysterical, demanding to know what's going on. Walt struggles to form the words, his eyes welling up with tears. Finally, in a croaked whisper, he informs her that her husband is gone. Susan breaks down.
Walt can't drive away fast enough. As he speeds down the highway, Ruby informs him over the radio that Vic has found something. Suddenly, Walt drives by a giant billboard announcing "Branch Connally for Sheriff" with a large picture of the smiling deputy. Walt can't believe it - son of a... The wail of a truck horn snaps his attention back to the road... too late. A giant 18-wheeler is bearing down on him. The Bronco swerves aside just in time to avoid a head-on collision, but plunges over the shoulder of the road and down a hill.
Walt is slammed up, down, and sideways as the Bronco flips onto the passenger side. It slides at high speed until everything goes dark.
The Bronco lies smashed and tipped on its side. Walt is conscious but bruised and bleeding from a gash on his hand. Trapped by his seatbelt, Walt spots his folding knife amidst empty beer cans on the ground outside the broken window. He strains to reach for the knife, and grunting with pain, cuts free of the strap. Walt heaves his body through the window and out of the car.
Still up on Pronghorn Ridge, Vic melts snow with a blow dryer in search of clues while the Ferg takes pictures in the background. She is surprised when Walt calls her from a cell phone, but he just borrowed it from the tow truck driver working to tip the Bronco back on its wheels. Vic tells Walt she found an unusual slug 20 yards from the body, and asks how it went with Parkford's widow. Walt explains she had no idea her husband was in Durant leading Vic to believe his death was all about sex. Walt asks Vic if she knew that Branch was running for Sheriff. Vic is appalled - she had no idea. Rather than dwell on it, Walt decides to meet up with someone who can identify their mystery slug.
Omar, a wealthy gun dealer, is on a target practice range firing shots as Walt pulls up. The weapons expert has laid out a variety of rifles to match to the slug Walt brought, but as soon as he gets a close look, he realizes it's from an antique infantry rifle called Sharps. Powerful enough to kill a horse from 500 yards, the Sharps has one down side - it takes a full five seconds to reload. Omar warns Walt that the type of person who would use a gun like that is dangerous.
Vic is still melting snow with the blow dryer when the Ferg calls out, waving his arms frantically. She asks if he found the bullet casing - instead he holds up a pair of pants. Vic looks perplexed.
Walt looks for a Sharps rifle in an antique store run by Dan Estes. Walt explains he's on Sheriff's business, and needs names of buyers and sellers of Sharps rifles. Dan reveals that a man named Charles Burnett sold him one a few weeks earlier, but then bought it back. Walt waits as Dan checks for more names.
Outside the store, Vic pulls up just as Walt once again stoops to pick up debris from the street. She tells him about finding the pants as they head to his car to go out to "the Rez," the Indian Reservation. Vic is taken aback when she suddenly notices Walt's bandaged hand and the dents on the Bronco.
While driving, Vic shows Walt the pants - an average looking pair of Levis with a belt that has a buckle Walt recognizes but can't remember from where. Dan listed three men who bought Sharps rifles - all Cheyenne who live on the Reservation. Walt wants to find out if they were connected to Parkford. Vic notes that the tribal police probably won't be of much assistance since Walt put their Police Chief in jail for extortion. He hopes they'll look past that "petty personal issue" to help solve a murder case.
Walt and Vic are suddenly ambushed when two tribal police cars cut off the Bronco. As Walt steps out of the car, Mathias, a Cheyenne police officer, rushes him and throws a punch to his jaw. Walt doesn't fight back, but Vic gets into a scuffle until Walt plucks her bodily from the fray. Walt tells Mathias about the shooting and asks for access to the Reservation to interview the rifle owners. Mathias refuses, but takes the list of names, sarcastically offering to look into it for him.
When Walt and Vic return to the station, Branch eagerly reports what he found out about the crime scene, the car owners, the weather, and the rancher who owns the dead sheep - but it's the last piece of news that gets Walt's full attention. Grant Parkford had visited the Sheriff's office just a few months earlier. He was helping a friend named May Stillwater search for her missing 16 year-old daughter, Lilly. Since the girl was from the Rez, Branch dumped the case in the lap of the tribal police and forgot all about it.
Walt takes the girl's picture and demands to know why he wasn't informed at the time. Branch nastily points out that Walt hasn't been "on top of his game" for a year. Furious, Walt tries to goad Branch into admitting he's running for Sheriff, but Branch doesn't take the bait. Walt storms out to return to the Rez to talk to the girl's mom. As he leaves, Vic reminds him that the tribal police warned him never to set foot there again.
Walt barges into the Red Pony Bar and makes a beeline for his friend Henry Standing Bear. Henry is behind the bar flirting with two attractive women. He asks Walt to join them for a dinner date, pointing out that Walt needs to "get back on the horse," but Walt has other plans...
Alone behind the wheel of his dusty pick-up truck, Henry pulls up to a house on the Reservation. In the yard, several dogs begin barking and May Stillwater storms out accusing Henry of hiding someone instead of coming alone as promised. It seems that the dogs can smell white people. Henry whistles sheepishly and Walt pops up from the back of the truck.
Inside, Walt tells May that he wants to help find her daughter. May admits that she and Lilly had a fight and the girl walked out. The last time she spoke to Lilly was when she called May to say she needed time to cool down. May's boyfriend heard Lilly was working as a prostitute, but she refuses to believe it. Walt discovers May's boyfriend is Charles Burnett, the man who sold, then re-purchased the Sharps rifle from Dan Estes. Walt shows her the photo of the girl that Parkford gave Branch, and May gasps. She reveals that Grant Parkford is Lilly's father. May was out of contact with Parkford until she called him in desperation when Lilly went missing. Parkford said he couldn't help, but must have changed his mind. May asks Walt to thank Parkford for her. Walt does not reveal he is dead.
As they drive away, Walt asks Henry if he knows anything about new prostitution in the county or on the Rez. Henry answers no - he's never had to pay for sex. Walt worries that he's "lost a step" because he's out of touch with what's going on in his county. Henry both reassures him and agrees he's lost a step.
The next morning, Walt is startled to find his stunning 27 year-old daughter Cady on his porch drinking coffee. He is glad to see her until he notices she brought out the tin tea box. Cady is worried about her dad. He keeps his late wife's ashes in the kitchen, lives in a house that's a disaster area, and drinks too much, judging by the empty beer cans littering the house, not to mention the cans that fell out of his truck when it crashed. She begs Walt to get help, and properly scatter the ashes so he won't spend another year wallowing in grief. Walt suggests that she get going to work. They hug, but part in sadness.
At the Sheriff's station, Dan Estes is waiting as Walt comes in. He has more names of buyers and sellers of Sharps rifles, and is admiring the antiques in Walt's office. Dan offers to buy them, but Walt declines telling him the office used to be a library. The connection triggers a memory...
Walt urgently demands the pants Vic found at the crime scene. Walt now remembers why the design on the belt buckle looks familiar, it's from a ranch that used to be called Ten Point - and is now the Driggs Ranch.
Garrett Driggs has his ranch hands lined up in front of Walt and Vic. Walt tells the men they found something up on Pronghorn Ridge they want to return, and Vic holds up the Levis. No one claims them, so Vic wryly commands the men to take off their pants. She relishes watching each one strip to his skivvies to try them on, but they only fit one man - Driggs' son, Colton. He tries to deny that the pants are his, but the belt was a birthday gift from his father. Busted.
Colton confesses that he was out at the Ridge trying to get laid on a dare from his friends. He claims there was an RV with prostitutes that took off when a big man barged in and threw Colton out without his pants. Walt asks for a description of the girl, and Colton sheepishly shows him a photograph on his cell phone taken as proof of the dare. There is no doubt the girl in bed with him is Lilly. Walt demands to know who told Colton how to find the prostitutes. Under threat of statutory rape charges, Colton spits out that, if you want to find that RV, "talk to the Indian at the Red Pony." Walt is stunned. Could it be Henry?
Walt barges into the Red Pony and asks Henry point blank if he's running an escort service out of the bar. Henry bristles - is this a joke? Walt tells him what Colton said about "the Indian at the Red Pony." Henry is angry that after 37 years of friendship, Walt still doesn't trust him. He tells Walt to look elsewhere.
Walt returns to the Sheriff's office to find Branch proudly holding a Sharps rifle with May's boyfriend, Charles Burnett, locked up in the station jail cell. Branch brags that the tribal police helped him get the rifle and the old black powder shells that go with it. Walt cocks the rifle, looks in the breech and announces that it isn't the murder weapon. When Branch protests there hasn't been a ballistics test yet, Walt loads the weapon, takes aim at the moose head on the wall, and pulls the trigger. The gun doesn't fire. Walt explains that if the gun isn't cleaned properly the black powder corrodes the metal - and this gun is a mess. Branch has egg on his face while Burnett is released from the cell and escorted out.
Walt is at his desk looking at the photo of Lilly when Branch comes in to complain about being humiliated in front of everyone. Walt confronts him about running for Sheriff - does he really think he can handle the job? Branch assumes the public would prefer "fresh thinking" over an absentee Sheriff with a car full of empty beer cans. Walt shuts Branch up by pointing out the cans were just litter he picked up off the road. Anyone who actually knows Walt knows that he only drinks Ranier beer. None of the cans from his truck were Ranier. Walt just hates looking at litter - something else anyone who actually knows him would know.
Just then Susan Parkford arrives to identify Grant's body. Walt apologizes for his emotional behavior the other day; he was overwhelmed by the first year anniversary of his wife's death and Susan's perfume, the same one his wife wore. Susan asks if her husband was having an affair, and is shocked to learn that he had a secret daughter. Walt tries to help her understand that Grant was just trying to make things right by looking for his daughter without hurting his wife.
Walt goes to visit Bob Barnes at the trailer park. Bob opens his door in stained underwear looking hung-over, but perks up when he sees the two six-packs of Ranier Walt is offering.
Deep into the six-packs, Bob admits that he and Billy went to the Ridge to hunt, but when they spotted the RV they decided to have fun with the ladies instead. Walt asks how Bob knew the RV was a brothel and finds out everyone knows - everyone but him. Under threat of legal action, Bob reveals that Avo, the Cheyenne busboy, is "the Indian at the Red Pony" who owns the RV. Not Henry.Walt is leaning on his Bronco, parked in the middle of the highway. Henry pulls over and gets out to face Walt suggesting the roadblock is overkill - couldn't Walt have just called to apologize? Walt's sheepish hello is enough for Henry. He tells Walt he set up a meeting with Avo the next morning at an abandoned cabin near the reservation, but it's probably a trap. Since "there's already one dead white guy," Henry suggests an "O.I.T" an Old Indian Trick...
The next morning, Avo pulls up to the cabin. He looks around cautiously as he enters the cabin... where Walt is waiting, pistol cocked. Avo is three hours early, but Walt beat him to it thanks to the "Old Indian Trick" of getting there even earlier than the other guy. Avo drops his gun, swearing that he isn't the killer. He confesses that Parkford had come to him two weeks ago looking to get laid, but when Avo sent him to the girls, he started yelling and waving a gun around. When he came back to Avo for more, Avo said no way. Parkford apologized for the scene, explaining he was looking for an Indian girl. To avoid trouble, Avo sent him back to the RV but called ahead to tell them to move it. He had no idea Parkford would get killed.
Walt tells Avo he can only protect him from being framed if he reveals the identity of the killer. Before Avo can speak, his chest explodes with blood from a powerful rifle shot that shatters the window. Walt kneels beside him on the floor, asking who's out there, but Avo's last words are only that he's sorry.
Walt cautiously opens the door - and is nearly hit by a shot that splinters the wood in the door jam. Walt counts to five as he races across the yard. In the five seconds it takes the killer to reload the Sharps rifle, Walt makes it to an outhouse that shields him from the next shot.
Walt leaps to his feet and counts as he runs, diving behind a tree to avoid a shot that shatters a branch.
Walt eyes the ridge - can he make it? He starts counting, his boots pounding through muddy underbrush and into a thicket of trees. The shot explodes and Walt's voice saying the number five is cut off with a grunt of pain.
Silence. Ravens begin to circle... and the shooter heads towards the woods, rifle in hand. Suddenly, the Bronco comes roaring over the ridge straight at the gunman who blasts a hole through the windshield. Walt leans away from the bullet and stays on course.
Walt leaps out of the Bronco, shotgun in hand, as the killer makes it to his silver Escalade and floors it down the winding road. Walt balances his shotgun on the open door of the Bronco and uses his injured hand on the windowsill to steady the barrel. He waits for the shooter's car to come around a bend so the driver's side is facing him, then fires left-handed. His aim is true and the Escalade wobbles to a stop.
Walt approaches the Escalade on foot. Bloody hands raise the gun and pull the trigger, but the gunman's aim goes awry. Walt doesn't slow until he reaches the car and grabs the rifle from... Dan Estes.
The antiques dealer is bleeding from a wound in his side and begs Walt to call an ambulance, but Walt isn't calling anyone until he gets some answers. Panicking and in pain, Dan pleads that he tried to warn Parkford to stop messing with his business, and gives Walt the location of the girls' RV. With that, Walt walks away leaving Dan screaming for an ambulance. Unfortunately for Dan, Walt doesn't have a cell phone.
Shortly after, outside the RV, the big assistant from Dan's shop is pushed into a patrol car with his hands behind his head. Vic steps up into the RV.
Inside, Lilly sits on a bunk bed looking dejected and tired. Vic gives her a friendly smile and sits down to talk.Later, Vic's car pulls up outside May Stillwater's house where Henry, May, and Mathias are waiting. Walt opens the door for Lilly, and May rushes to hug her daughter who is ashamed and in shock. Walt, Mathias, and Henry all silently acknowledge each other. There is a truce... for now.
As the sun sets, Walt stands on the side of the highway across from a one of Branch's signs, hammering a stake into the ground. Walt puts a sign on top of his stake and gets into the Bronco.
The tin box with his wife's ashes is on the seat next to him. Walt rests his hand on it for a long moment, smiling and at peace.
As the Bronco drives off into the sunset, we see Walt's sign. It's smaller than Branch's, old and faded - but easy to read: LONGMIRE FOR SHERIFF. HONESTY AND INTEGRITY.