“Buckle up” for
Question #43, 3/05/19
“I’ve noticed discrepancies in the clothes that Walt wears on the TV show and in the books and was wondering if you could throw us some brands for the literary Longmire?”
There were changes that they made in the television production to fit the actor, Robert Taylor, and choices they made simply because the show was filmed in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’m not really an expert on the TV show, but I know that after the first series of hats from Montana didn’t fit they went to a local hatter and had a few made in the same brown color and style I’d indicated in the books.
Originally, I’d seen Walt in a silver belly, pinch-front that my friend Mike Hodges made for me with Walt’s name in the band, but with the Sheriff in the books being 6’5” and two hundred and fifty pounds he made the hat size accordingly and I can’t wear it so it sits on a lamp in my writing loft for motivation.
Next up was the coat which was purchased on the square in Santa Fe at a swanky outfitter. The TV folks decided on something more modern than the traditional sheepskin coat I’d seen Walt wearing with a darker color and a kind of three-quarter length that I think worked. In the books the coat is a sheepskin and a gift to Walt from his wife, Martha, that they have to cut off of him in Any Other Name and he has yet to replace, instead wearing a Carhartt and sometimes a front-quarter, horsehide jacket that he’s had most of his life that must be just about worn to perfection.
Walt likes solid color, denim or canvas shirts which they used in the TV show and Levi’s which some folks argue with saying he’s a cowboy and should be wearing Wranglers, but as a wide-body like myself I figured he probably had the same problems both Robert Taylor and I have in that the pantlegs are too narrow.
Boot-wise, Robert wore Apache Bay, Justin Ropers with a low heel to allow him a maneuverability and in the books Walt wears Olathe’s with a low, rubber heel and sole for the same purpose.
Unlike Robert, Walt wears a pocket watch that belonged to his grandfather on his mother’s side with a leather strap and a brass fob with an Indian Chief’s head in profile and two horse heads facing away from each other. Taylor’s wristwatch is one he picked up in the Far East during the filming of a movie that the costumer, Daniella Moore, allowed him to use.
Both men wear similar, gold band wedding rings, still.
I never was clear about what kind of belt buckle Walt wears in the books, but the one Taylor provided in the TV show kind of became emblematic. Robert tells me he bought the sterling silver, bear claw piece on a previous trip in the southwest and it just seemed to fit Walt, which I agree, even going so far as to figure it must’ve been a gift from Henry at some time in their distant and mutual past.
Both Walts wear modified, Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses, Robert’s purchased again in the Far East and the original Walts too, although his were probably procured in the PX at Tan Son Nuit Airforce base in Vietnam during the war.
The Walt in the books wears a silver ring with coral and turquoise wolves around his neck on a chain because its far too big even for him to wear, a gift from Virgil White Buffalo during the sheriff’s adventures in the mountains in Hell Is Empty.
As to underwear, I’ll leave that to the imagination of female readers and viewers…
How does one shop for a Sheriff?
I run two Facebook groups, so I see a lot of discussion about all things Longmire. I’m never surprised at the esoterica that devoted fans dig up through their own detective work. If it helps, I’ll share some of that with you, as regards the tv show paraphernalia.
Walt’s hats for the show are custom made from O’Farrells in Santa Fe – according to Robert Taylor himself. His signature coat is a shearling design dubbed the “McKinley” from Overland Sheepskin Co. Apparently they don’t watch the show, or it’d be called the “Longmire”. That is surely one toasty warm jacket, I’ll bet. Walt’s outfit combo will set you back the cost of a good horse or a bad car, if you have a hankering for authenticity.
I can attest that the tv version belt buckle is a variation on a Navajo traditional creation from the Four Corners area, crafted in silver. The bear paw motif symbolizes strength and big medicine. Apropos, yes? The Longmire store in Buffalo sells a good replica, and Alltribes offers a pricier original.
His tv watch I’m told is a cheap Casio chronograph model. I suppose it symbolizes convenience and thrift. You know…”it is what it is”.