United States: Longmire
Once a year, the small town of Buffalo in Wyoming becomes a teeming hot spot for 'Longmire' fans.
Buffalo in Wyoming is a charming mountain town that inspired author Craig Johnson as the setting for his Longmire book series.
Every summer, the town hosts the famed Longmire Days - a four day event around all things Longmire! We had a chat with Jennifer McCormick who, along with author Craig Johnson and his wife Judith, is in charge of organising the event.
How did the Longmire Days originate?
"The idea was the brainchild of Craig and Judy Johnson. Craig set the Longmire mystery series in Buffalo (Durant, WY) and this is their way of giving back to a community that they love."
How has the event evolved over the years?
"The first year was simply Craig sitting in front of the Occidental Hotel signing books at a table. Then the actors from the series got interested in coming. It has grown tremendously from there and become a phenomenon. Our community is 4,600 people, and it pretty much triples in size for those four Longmire Days."
What are your personal event highlights?
"My favorite moment in the 2019 event was when someone offered a $5000 matching donation for the local animal shelter. At the 'Tale of Two Walts' question and answer session Craig's hat went around one side of the high school gymnasium, Robert Taylor's hat went around the other side. In about 10 minutes Longmire fans raised $5048 so the shelter could get the matching donation.
Longmire fans are caring and generous. The actors have become like family to so many of us. It is always fun to get to see them again. And it is always fun to hear Craig telling stories to the crowds."
How can the fans connect with author Craig Johnson and the actors during the event?
"There are ticketed events throughout the entire weekend. However, our venues are not large and tickets are limited. Failing that, the best way to see Craig and all of the actors is to make sure you are out and about in the community.
Between events you will see Craig on the bridge talking with fans or hanging out at his and Judy's store on Main Street. The actors can often be found in the Occidental Hotel, at 4th on Main (a local restaurant), at the Saturday night street dance, and so many other places.
It always takes us what seems like forever to move A Martinez from one event to the next because he is so generous with his time. He will stay at the Friday evening softball game until everyone gets an autograph. In 2018, at the after party, he signed a copy of the movie The Cowboys and sat at a table with the fans and told stories about the filming of the movie, and about John Wayne."
Can you tell us more about the fans who come to the event?
"They are the most generous, sweetest people ever. They start to show up a week before the event and ask how they can help out. The fans who have been to the event before answer telephones, make copies, run errands, give advice on how first timers can make the most of the weekend. I have never seen anything like it.
One lady worked for a solid week before the event, and when she left the office for a planned day trip there was another lady who came in to take her place. These people on their vacation were working the same hours as the staff."
What are your personal sightseeing tips for in and around Buffalo?
"People who come to Buffalo have lots of options for sightseeing and local history. For local history I would recommend the Johnson County Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum which was started with the collection of the local pharmacist, Jim Gatchell. He took pretty much anything in payment from patients who didn't have cash and ended up with a wonderful collection.
The Occidental Hotel is like taking a step back in time. Previous guests of the hotel include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Calamity Jane, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ernest Hemingway. You don't want to miss the Ox (local nickname) while you are in Buffalo. The Thursday Night Bluegrass Jam has been featured on Wyoming Public Television and the owner of the Occidental, David Stewart, is an award winning country/bluegrass songwriter."
"The TA Ranch is picturesque and chock full of history. It is the sight of the last battle of the Johnson County War, one of the most notable range wars of the American West. The townspeople formed a posse at the Occidental Saloon and rode out to meet the mercenary gunmen at the TA.
The barn has been fully restored and the ranch is open daily for visitors. The motion picture Shane starring Alan Ladd is set against the backdrop of the Johnson County War."
"For sightseeing you can't beat the Bighorn Mountains. Buffalo's backyard! My favorite spot in the Bighorns is Crazy Woman Canyon where you'll find breathtaking views all around you. The canyon is best viewed by taking Crazy Woman Canyon Road off of Old Hwy 87 and travel up through the canyon. A four wheel drive is recommended."
"The story I have hear the most about how the canyon got it's name concerns a family traveling through the canyon by covered wagon. The husband and three children were killed by Sioux warriors. After witnessing the attack, the wife lost her mind. Allegedly there was a mountain man who came upon the wife, buried the bodies, and built her a small cabin.
The locals began to call the canyon and the creek that runs through it Crazy Woman Canyon and Crazy Woman Creek. The legend of the Crazy Woman is featured in the movie Jeremiah Johnson starring Robert Redford."
Longmire Days 2020
Keep up to date with what's happening in 2020 here.
JOhn R Hoffman Sr who provided the majority of photos.