You might recognize Sean Hatosy, who played bronc rider Levi Giggs, from the show SouthLand, in which he portrays Officer Sammy Bryant. You might not have known that this episode reunited him with fellow SouthLanders Chris Chulack, who directed and executive-produced for both programs, and Cameron Duncan, who worked as a camera operator on SouthLand and is Director of Photography for Longmire.
Another recognizable face is that of Gerald McRaney, who played Branch's troublesome father, Barlow Connally. While McRaney is perhaps best know for his roles on Simon & Simon and Major Dad, he has played numerous characters - many with a military background - in shows like The West Wing, Deadwood, and CSI.
At the end of this episode, Gerald McRaney and Bailey Chase have a scene on horseback, which can be quite a challenge to shoot. According to DP Cameron Duncan, acting and riding simultaneously was no problem for either performer. "McRaney was a total pro on set, what a pleasure to have him. If I'm not mistaken he owns horses. At any rate acting and riding was no problem. In fact, our location was a bit rocky and had to be cleared a bit for the horses. Cody Smith, animal wrangler, did a great job working with the actors and horses. Bailey is also a rider so we were in good hands. I'm recalling during our scout that we would not have shot that scene on horseback had Mac (McRaney) not been a rider. I crossed my fingers all week."
It can be a tricky thing to populate a house with priceless works of art, even if those works of art are reproductions. For the shoots at the Sublette home, the crew used a combination of art that actually belonged to the homeowners, and pieces brought in by production designer Robb King. In order to keep things tidy, the crew was required to wear "booties" while working in the home. DP Cameron Duncan said, "It was like shooting in a modern art museum; a bit nerve-racking."
There was much discussion as to whether the production team would shoot the rodeo scenes at an actual rodeo, or create a rodeo themselves. In the end, the decision was made to make their own rodeo from scratch. DP Cameron Duncan stated, "Our stunt coordinator Chris Howell and Cody Smith did an amazing job in recreating the rodeo. Howell is a former bronc rider, so this episode was tailor made for him. That shooting day was the one day that spooked the production the most because we had so many elements; background players, animals, stunts, etc. In the end the crew and department keys came prepared and we killed it. I'm recalling the stunt man for Shawn Hatosy was able to land in the same spot once he was bucked from the bronco. How awesome is that?"
Some of the nicest moments in the episode involved an introspective rodeo clown named Bob Barnes, played by John Bishop. The last scene between Bob and Walt (Robert Taylor) was a short one, so the DP suggested that they shoot it at twilight. That would only allow them about 15 minutes to get the shot, but would give it the light and look you only get at that magical time of day. According to Cameron, "We did the master wide at the end while the light was still bright on the horizon. In that set up, the donkey began cackling. John Bishop, playing Barnes, improvised and told the donkey to shut up. After we cut, Chulack said, 'Cam, jump in there and get a close up of Barnes doing the same line to the donkey.' I'm pretty sure it was dark shortly after that take." Ah, the magic of television!
In an interview with the A.V. Club, Katee Sackhoff (Deputy Vic Morett) spoke about a couple of neat connections this particular episode of Longmire shares with one of the first shows she worked on, The Education of Max Bickford (which starred Richard Dreyfus, soon to be seen on the creepy A&E miniseries, Coma!). Her character's father on Max Bickford was played by Patrick Fabian - the same Patrick Fabian who played Dr. Dennis Nunn, horse expert and murder suspect! Not only that, but Vic's husband, played by Michael Mosley, got his first job on Bickford. Is it a conspiracy? No. It is not. But it's cool!
Production notes courtesy of Cameron Duncan.