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In Search of the Real Longmire

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

Are you a Netflix junkie? Well, with the show Longmire I became one. This story created by author Craig Johnson is one of mine and my wife’s favorite shows and Johnson’s books are some of my favorite reads. His stories combine both the allure of the west with police drama and mystery. When my family was traveling one of our Great American road trips as we often do, passing through Wyoming and New Mexico, we were presented with a mystery of our own, finding the real Longmire.

I had read on several blogs that Buffalo, Wyoming in the northern section of the state was the model for fictitious Durant, Wyoming, the setting for the Longmire books and TV series. Longmire is also set in a fictitious county called Absaroka. We decided to stop in Buffalo on the way to Cody from Rapid City. It’s a great example of a small western town, but as we walked around I did not see anything from the show. Then, out of blue, I geeked out when I saw a shop called, “Longmire Headquarters”. We walked in and discovered a shop filled with western-wear, native American jewelry and books by Craig Johnson. It turned out the author and his wife owned the store!

A few hundred dollars later (I bought so many signed books) and a chat with the store clerk we found out that Buffalo was the model for the town in the books but was not large enough to accommodate all the crew for the filming of Longmire. Instead, Las Vegas, New Mexico was used for Durant. As it happened I looked on the map and our travels to Santa Fe took us right through Las Vegas, NM. It’s funny that two towns separated by so much distance would have a connection and it was funnier still that our 5,000+ mile long trip took us through both of them.

About a week later after touring Yellowstone, Teton and Rocky Mountain National Parks we found ourselves in Las Vegas, New Mexico around dinner time. We ate at a great local taco place and then drove around the town looking for the iconic square from the television series. We turned a corner and there it was! We were suddenly driving through the scene from our screen. The set piece that formed the door of the fictitious Durant, Wyoming Sheriff’s department had been left in-situ for you to discover. Also, as you drive around this once bustling railroad town you can see why it was chosen by Longmire’s producers. Side by side are houses from every architectural style, adobe, victorian, modern, wealthy and poor. You can see how easy it must have been to find so many filming locations within a small area.

When you take your next road trip make these towns a small stop over for coffee or a meal, and if you haven’t already start watching Longmire on Netflix or pick up one of Craig Johnson’s novels. Neither will disappoint!

HINT- Make sure to stop by the Fix Coffee Shop In Buffalo, WY for a caffeine fix before heading across the dessert to Cody. The Fix Shop is owned by people from the Basque region of Spain.

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