Longmire's Unfinished Saga: Why the Modern Western was Canceled


There's nothing quite like the disappointment of having your favorite show taken away from you, and what's even more disheartening is when it happens not just once, but twice. Such was the case for the devoted fans of "Longmire," a contemporary Western drama based on the best-selling novels by Craig Johnson.

"Longmire" revolved around the life of Sheriff Walt Longmire, portrayed by the talented Australian actor Robert Taylor. Set in the fictitious Absaroka County in Wyoming, the show followed Walt and his small, dedicated team, including Deputy Vic Moretti (played by Katee Sackhoff), as they tackled an array of crimes within Walt's jurisdiction. Alongside the crime-solving, the series artfully weaved in family and personal drama to enrich the narrative.

Sherrif County badge holding in hand - Longmire - Netflix
Image Credit: Netflix

"Longmire" made its television debut in 2012. This character, Sheriff Walt Longmire, was a man who epitomized old-fashioned principles, a true role model in a world that often yearns for such figures. His dedication to his late wife, Martha, was a shining example of love and loyalty.

The Initial Cancellation on A&E: A Shocking Departure

The first blow to "Longmire" came when it was unexpectedly canceled by the A&E network after just three seasons. This decision took both fans and industry insiders by surprise. After all, the series had established itself as one of the highest-rated dramas in A&E's history, securing a devoted and substantial viewership.

While the show's popularity seemed to be soaring, A&E decided to pull the plug. This decision became a subject of curiosity, leaving fans and critics alike pondering the reasons behind this surprising move.

In the world of television, cancellation decisions are rarely straightforward. While "Longmire" had garnered impressive ratings, it faced a unique set of challenges. Some speculate that A&E's decision was influenced by the show's demographics. Advertisers often set their sights on the coveted 18-49, or 18-35 age group, and "Longmire" was perceived to appeal to a slightly older audience. Advertisers believed that younger viewers held more financial sway, leading to a preference for programs targeting that demographic.

Additionally, "Longmire" was produced by an external studio, which meant that A&E didn't reap as much financial benefit from it. Networks often prioritize in-house productions that can generate more revenue.

While the cancellation was indeed a shock, it becomes somewhat comprehensible when viewed from A&E's perspective. In the competitive landscape of television, the decisions are not always as clear-cut as they appear.

Netflix Rescues Longmire: A Second Chance at Justice

As the sun began to set on "Longmire" after its initial cancellation, a new ray of hope emerged when Netflix stepped in to rescue the series. This was a turning point in the show's journey, and it left fans eager to see what the streaming giant had in store.

The transition from traditional cable television on A&E to the digital world of Netflix was a daring move. Netflix, known for pushing the boundaries of conventional TV, provided a fresh platform for "Longmire" to thrive. It was an opportunity for the show to find a new lease on life and continue its compelling narrative.

O0ne of the intriguing mysteries of "Longmire's" transition to Netflix was the potential increase in viewership. Unlike traditional networks, Netflix doesn't readily release viewership data, leaving fans to speculate about the show's newfound popularity. The question lingered: Did more people discover and fall in love with "Longmire" in its new digital home?

The phenomenon of the "Netflix bump" had previously breathed new life into shows like "Breaking Bad" and "Riverdale." When these series found a second home on Netflix, they experienced a surge in viewership and garnered newfound appreciation. This pattern hinted at the possibility that "Longmire" might have found an expanded audience and rekindled interest, thanks to Netflix's global reach.

Netflix's swift intervention, only three months after A&E's cancellation, underscored its commitment to keeping "Longmire" alive. The platform not only rescued the series but also ensured its continued success by producing new seasons in 2015, 2016, and the final one in 2017.

Throughout the transition from A&E to Netflix, Warner Brothers remained a constant presence. They continued to distribute "Longmire" in various regions, preserving the show's accessibility to fans around the world. This continuity allowed the show to maintain its identity even in its new digital home.

Netflix's Decision to Bid Farewell to Longmire: The End of the Trail

As "Longmire" continued its journey on Netflix, the platform made an announcement that left fans with mixed emotions. While renewing the show for a sixth season, it was revealed that this would be the final chapter in the tale of Sheriff Walt Longmire.

The news of a sixth season was met with both excitement and a tinge of sadness, as fans knew this would be the last time they'd saddle up with Walt Longmire for new adventures. The renewal was both a gift and a farewell, promising one more ride through Absaroka County.

While Netflix's decision to conclude "Longmire" remains shrouded in mystery, several educated guesses have been put forward. The show had already covered a significant portion of the source material from Craig Johnson's best-selling novels that inspired it. This led to speculation that the show's creators might have decided to end it on their own terms, rather than attempting to venture beyond the original narrative.

But the world of television often dances to the tune of actors' contracts. While there's no concrete evidence to suggest this, some have speculated that actors, including Robert Taylor, might have had reservations about signing new contracts to keep the show alive. The longer a series runs, the more expensive it becomes due to the financial demands of the cast, which could have played a role in the decision.

Netflix's decision to cancel "Longmire" remains veiled in secrecy. The platform does not disclose viewership data, leaving fans in the dark about the show's performance on the streaming service. While external companies do report such numbers, their accuracy is often debated. The enigmatic nature of Netflix's data leaves the reasons for the cancellation open to interpretation.

Throughout its run, "Longmire" earned a reputation for its quality, resonating with both fans and critics. The show consistently drew in millions of viewers each season, leading to its enduring success.

Arguments for Keeping Longmire: The Unfinished Stories

The decision to end "Longmire" left behind a tapestry of stories waiting to be woven. Taylor's portrayal of the iconic sheriff endeared him to viewers and presented an opportunity to explore the character's journey further.

Walt Longmire, a symbol of integrity and old-fashioned values, had more to offer. His role as sheriff was a beacon of honor, and he stood as a compelling role model in a world that sometimes longed for such figures. The depth of his character and his unyielding commitment to justice were qualities that resonated with viewers.

The "Longmire" universe held unexplored storylines and character relationships. From Walt's budding relationship with Deputy Vic Moretti to the enigmatic Henry Standing Bear and his ventures as a casino owner, the show had numerous untold tales that could have enriched the narrative.

Debunking the Demographic Argument: The Fallacy of "Wrong Demographics"

The controversy surrounding the cancellation of "Longmire" brings to light the often-misunderstood concept of demographics. The show's conclusion was surrounded by speculations about attracting the "wrong demographic," but is this argument really valid?

Advertisers often target specific age groups, but the assumption that younger demographics hold the key to advertising success is not as straightforward as it may seem. The belief that the 18-35 age group possesses the most spending power doesn't necessarily hold true.

A Still in car - Longmire - Netflix
Image Credit: Netflix

"Longmire" stood as a testament to the fact that a show can resonate with viewers of all ages. The notion that a show's appeal is limited to a narrow age range was disproved by the diverse and dedicated fanbase of "Longmire."

Craig Johnson, the author of the "Longmire" novels that inspired the TV series, offered his insights into the network's decision. He shed light on A&E's motives and their attempt to gain full ownership of the show.

Craig Johnson revealed that A&E's decision to cancel "Longmire" was not solely based on ratings but involved a deeper motive. The network aimed to acquire complete ownership of the show, a move that played a pivotal role in its cancellation.

The Conclusion of Longmire: Walt Longmire's Journey

The show's ending left many fans with mixed feelings. While some plotlines were neatly tied up, others remained unresolved, leaving viewers with a sense of urgency and questions about the future.

The series finale was not without its poignant and memorable scenes. One such scene was Walt Longmire making coffee, a subtle yet powerful callback to the show's beginnings. It emphasized the theme of preserving the past while moving forward.

The Endless Potential of Longmire: Unexplored Stories and Character Development

Craig Johnson's series of "Longmire" novels provides a treasure trove of untold stories waiting to be adapted to the screen. With each book, readers are introduced to new mysteries, challenges, and characters, all set against the backdrop of Absaroka County, Wyoming.

While "Longmire" may have concluded its sixth season, the door remains open for its return or a captivating spinoff. Fans eagerly await news of any future developments that may breathe new life into the beloved series.

Riding car - Longmire - Netflix
Image Credit: Netflix

As we bid adieu to "Longmire," we do so with a sense of gratitude for the stories it shared and the characters it introduced us to.

The Disappointment, Appeal, and Hope

In the wake of "Longmire's" cancellation, a cloud of disappointment hung over its dedicated fan base. The hope for a return or continuation of this beloved series remains steadfast.

As we close this chapter on "Longmire," we do so with a mixture of nostalgia, gratitude, and hope. While its future remains uncertain, the legacy of "Longmire" continues to resonate with viewers, reminding us of the enduring power of great storytelling.

Longmire's Unfinished Saga Why the Modern Western was Canceled

Author: Kristy R. Wilson

Author/Writer - Kristy R. Wilson

Meet Kristy R. Wilson, an enthusiastic writer with an insatiable passion for storytelling. She specializes in crafting captivating narratives inspired by her deep love for entertainment, and avidly follows stories in these genres. Kristy's expertise and research-driven articles immerse readers in the thrilling world of Movies & TV shows, ensuring an entertaining experience for all.

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