Longmire Season 3 Finale Recap: Feathers and Sons

Longmire Cancelled

That’s called ending your season with a bang.

As A&E’s Longmire closed Season 3 on Monday night, Walt dug up the truth about Miller Beck’s murder, while Branch uncovered some damning family secrets of his own — for better or for worse.

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With David Ridges dead, his white warrior ash still smudged on Walt’s clothes, Walt goes about keeping Branch out of the office and for good measure puts in motion the paperwork for his suspension. But then there’s the matter of who sicced David on Branch — and Jacob Nighthorse has an audio tape proving that he did nothing of the sort. Nighthorse then makes the mistake of taunting Walt too far, by invoking his wife, but when Walt turns to throw a punch, he clocks Vic instead. Ouch.

Later at the bar, spurred by something Henry and Cady said (and the headdress David had been wearing), Walt comes to wonder if feathers aren’t a common thread in everything. He drives to Denver to track down his old “friend” Detective Vogel, seeking his help in proving that Fales is purposely railroading the wrong man. Vogel is hesitant to get involved, but when Walt mentions the crow feather, Vogel produces an autopsy x-ray that suggests a feather was found in Miller Beck’s mouth — just as one was planted in Branch’s bullet wound.

Presented with this possibility, Henry is anxious to dig up Beck’s body, and Walt (with little prodding) agrees. And though they’re almost caught by local cops (good comeback on the “two shovels” question, Henry!), Walt and Henry secure the coffin and, sure enough, find the broken-off end of a feather inside the corpse’s mouth.

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Back home, Ridges’ own corpse briefly goes missing — prompting Vic to “pop” a tail light and pull Nighthorse over, yet come up empty. Turns out, the body had been spirited away for a battlefield ceremony, which Walt deftly interrupts, with the promise that they may continue it another day.

Cady summons ADA Sloan and Fales for a meeting, ostensibly to hear Henry make a statement. But in actuality, her endgame is for them to drop all charges, and in trade they won’t file a civil suit, seeing as evidence was suppressed that exonerates Henry. As Cady lays out many photos that link Ridges to Beck’s murder and more, the ADA cannot deny the mound of evidence.

But even as Henry embraces freedom, now is not a time for happy endings. First, we see Walt take his wife’s ashes to the spot where they exchanged vows, and scatter them — if only so that she cannot see that which he is about to do, to those behind her murder. Speaking of….

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Branch confronts his father Barlow while out skeet shooting. Having joined up with the family business, he’s been checking the books and asks about the assorted monies paid to one of Nighthorse’s dummy companies. Barlow does his best to explain away his begrudging dealing with a “sworn enemy,” all in the name of helping get Branch elected sheriff years ago. But when Branch notes that Nighthorse was paid $50K the week Walt’s wife was killed, all gloves are off.

Barlow for a moment seems contrite about his despicable actions, but then with a chilling coldness he observes that at age 65, “I don’t have time to make another fortune… but I do have time to make another son.” And on that cue, he triggers the skeet trap to distract Branch, and then the camera cuts to Walt at his home as a shotgun goes off in the distance.

What did you think of Longmire‘s Season 3 finale? Did Barlow actually spin and gun down his own boy? Are you curious (or so over) the latest twists in the death of Walt’s wife? (Longmire has yet to be renewed for a fourth season. Last year, the pick-up news didn’t come until late November.)

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Kendra says:

    Needs to be picked up right now! Hands down one of the better shows on to watch !

  2. SweetEV says:

    Great season finale! Hope it gets renewed.

  3. auntiemm says:

    That was good. Branch is dead so clears the way for Henry to become Walt’s deputy (he’s lost the Pony). There’s no way Branch could end the season shot two years in a row. I will miss Branch though.

  4. Nancy Clark says:

    Great finale! Suspenseful and engaging. And the cliffhanger…Wow! First, Walt says the he knows that Jacob Nighthorse paid to kill her. Then, he says he his glad she’s not there to see what he’s about to do. And then Barlow say, “I don’t have time to make another fortune…but I do have time to make another son.” Chilling!!

  5. Lyn says:

    Very disappointed without a conclusion to end the season. Is Branch dead or alive?

    • Heidi says:

      I’m betting daddy’s dead or wounded. Branch will then take over the business next season (Come on. Just renew it already.) Great finale – hopefully not the series’ finale.

  6. Great finale. I think Barlow is probably shot and gravely injured. I think Branch was ready. Teared up with Walt spreading her ashes. This show needs to be renewed.

    • Carlene says:

      Love this show. I hope it’s renewed. Love the scenery. There should be more westerns on tv. I got teary-eyed when Walt spread his wife’s ashes.

    • Stephani says:

      Branch is still with us, for better or worse, IMO. Branch got the drop on Barlow. After Branch shot the clay pidgin, he still had one in the chamber. The shell he ejected (slowed view) was red. We see a red shell land in the dirt among red and gold shells. Barlow had to have been using gold ones.

      • Liz says:

        Good observation! I didn’t catch that one! Gosh I hope Branch isn’t dead.

      • enuff said says:

        I think Barlow is dead. It would be perfect symmetry to the episodes opening scene. Branch wanted Ridges but Walt got to him first. Walt wants his wife’s killer (Barlow) but Branch got to him first.

      • That’s a great theory. Went back and watched the scene. Barlow first has gold shells, then red (after his second pull). Branch only had red. When Barlow reaches into his pocket to get new shells before his confession, they don’t show which color. I hope you’re right and that Barlow was supposed to be using the gold the last time while Branch was still using red. It’s just not 100% clear, but i really like this theory because I’m hoping Branch is still with us.

        The owl on Walt’s porch is also symbolic of either death or change — so that it came to Walt could indicate a literal death, the loss of Branch. Or it could signify the symbolic change coming now that Walt is closer to finding those responsible for his wife’s death and that he has finally let his wife go.

        Either way, A&E needs to renew this show! Such amazing writing.

        • Sven says:

          Barlow has the red shells after his last pull and ejected just one. The other one (also red) he put in his right pocket. This is the pocket he grabbed into with his right hand just before his confession that he paid 100,000 for the election. Just before he says that the 50,000 had been for consulting services, you can see his right hand empty. So they both had one red shell in their chambers. Or Barlow had more shells in his pocket and grabbed a golden one, as he was shooting with golden ones at first.

          I don’ t know. I think it is no clue at all…. sad though…. can’ t wait for season 4. We just made it to the long drought between season 2 and 3….

      • Sunshine says:

        Great observation! I think Branch us still alive also. In the beginning if the episode he asked Walt what he had to do to earn back his place on the team and Walt said, “I don’t know. ” I think Branch uncovering his father’s rotten actions is more than to earn his badge back! It would be really lousy to kill him off after all he’s been thru. I’d

      • The ejected shell landed in a pile of empties. Leads us to believe that it was ejected from Branches position. Barlows spent cartridge would have ejected away from the empties on the ground.

    • Donasu says:

      I think Branch was ready for Barlow. I suspected Barlow was behind Walt’s wife’s murder, but didn’t want it to be true. David Ridges was a dog soldier, but isn’t Jacob Nighthorse a dog soldier too?

      • Deion says:

        I had to go back, but Branch does have one shell loaded and his break closed when Barlow stands and closes his break. Even if the writers hadn’t decided whether to let Branch live, they’ve got an out.

  7. lessthanrighteousindignation says:

    Now that is the way you do a season finale. Hoping for an immediate renewal.

  8. kelleyyyy says:

    OMG!! How can they not….I’m going to go insane waiting for this to come back on so I can find out what the hell happened

  9. Dorothy says:

    Wish it would go on..one of the best shows I have watched !!!

  10. Liam says:

    I don’t think Branch was shot. Barlow’s gun was unloaded. He didn’t have time to load and shoot when Branch was turned around.

  11. Jerry & Sharon Yearout says:

    WE have enjoyed the show and wait each week for a new episode. Please renew for next season. Longmire is riveting and clean series.

  12. Leah holley says:

    Great ending. Here is my thoughts on the ending..Henry is out near where Branch and his Daddy are, sees Barlow raise his rifle and shoots Barlow before he can shoot Branch. After all, it is Branch who put up the bail money for Henry. I hope they renew this show..It is too good to not renew it.

    • Steve Hoff says:

      Hmmm, that’s an interesting story line….too bad we have to wait to see if you’re right!!

    • Mary Neely says:

      Don’t think so, cause the shell was ejected into the pile with the rest of them. Henry wouldn’t have been that close.

      • Angie and Nick says:

        We thought about the color of the shells and then realized one thing, when the red shell casing ejected, it landed with ALL of the other shell casings. Thus, Branch shot Barlow and the shell landed back in the pile. When you are skeet shooting, there is a designated place to shoot and a designated place to release the pigeon. Plus they are both right handed shooters and the casings would land in the same place. Barlow was able to lock and load and probably fired. So, Branch has a self defense claim.

      • Doesn’t mean Henry couldn’t have been out there. Barlow or Branch got off a shot, one of them did, but hopefully Branch either beat his dad to it, or Henry’s bullet stopped Barlow from hitting Branch. All speculation, of course… Dang, i wish “seasons” of a show were like in the good ol’ days….NYPD Blue, for example, had over 20 episodes (weekly!) for 12 years.

    • cheryl says:

      Thats a good theory but they were on Barlows property. why would Henry be on their property??

  13. rainey13 says:

    I figure it’s Barlow who’s on the ground bleeding out. Branch had him figured out.

    But I will definitely feel better when we hear the renewal news!!!

  14. Patterson hood says:

    One of best series ever watched. Great characters – story line etc- crazy to not continue

  15. Lori says:

    good season finale
    . Look forward to season 4. I hope everyone comes back–great show!

  16. Lisa Harkins says:

    They would be crazy not to pick this wild goose. After all, there are many episodes and lots of golden eggs :)

  17. Lynn Rogers says:

    Best show on TV. I bet there will be a Season #4. I think A & E knows that it is a good show & script as well as actors are good. Wish Longmire could run in the Fall as well. Lots of stories can be told just from all the books.

  18. Great show w great actors – please continue

  19. Media Welty says:

    I love Longmire and so does my whole family. We look forward to Monday nights! I can not fathom not knowing what happened between Branch and his father ( both excellent actors). Longmire is my modern day Clint Eastwood! Please renew the contract for next season.

  20. Linde Fort says:

    Wowy zowy! Loved it, it had better be back. Love the whole cast & the story line. Will Branch make it, or, did his dad do him in…..? Can’t wait for the new season.

  21. Shane says:

    Hands-down the BEST series on TV! This season was too brief and I hope that the next season will start soon. I had nearly forgotten that TV could (all too rarely) have plots, action and great actors! So … until the next season, we have nothing to watch but The World’s Spitting Championship and NCIS Springfield? Great time for old Netflix movies!

  22. Steve Hoff says:

    It’ll be back. The ratings have continued to climb as the writing (and Sackoff’s acting) improved. Pretty sure Walt shot the old man but now we have to wait to know for sure. Looks like alot of good material for the beginning of season IV…:)

    • joan morgan says:

      I don’t see how Walk could have shot the old man, I think perhaps you meant to write Branch shot the old man… Anyway GREAT show, sure hope it is renewed.

  23. GemCollector says:

    That was a great season finale. I love this show! I really want to see it renewed and get a longer season. Great writing and acting, a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging show.

  24. Annie says:

    Please,please – next season to be picked up ASAP!! – One of the best shows on TV – Not much good on anymore with all the reality shows – Longmire is awesome!!!! –

    • joan m says:

      I throughly agree Annie. This is a great show. I actually missed the first two seasons, so had to go back and read up on what’s happening. Sure hope it is renewed. Anxiously awaiting for next season.

      • Josiebracken says:

        You can catch the first 2 seasons on Netflix. That’s where I first saw this show and was really glad to see the 3rd season when it came on. Excellent show and I really do hope it gets renewed. The season finale was awesome with some humor injected into it. That scene at the grave was really funny. When Walt dumped it all on Henry to answer the cop’s question regarding the 2 shovels, you can almost see behind Henry’s passive face screaming “Are you kidding me???’ Cannot wait to see what happens.

  25. shirleen Miller says:

    this is one of the best shows on TV, I watch it back to back on Monday nights. You need to make more shows instead of cutting the, These writers, author and actors are spell binding. No show compares to this! Do not leave us hanging and please bring back with more shows.

  26. this is such a great show!!!!! They should and hopefully will renew it

  27. enri says:

    Wowza! That was one heck of a finale. Season #4 please!!

  28. dananebr says:

    Branch was using red shells, Barlow was using yellow. Watch the ending and see what color of shell hits the ground.

    • Careen says:

      Yes, one red shell fell to the ground and Branch only one shell left in his gun, pointed at his dad when Barlow tripped the skeet. I think that Branch shot by instinct. I do not think Henry was carrying a gun. He grabbed a jar of something at the memorial site for some reason. Branch is a decent man and deserves to come out of this. Vic and Walt I think will get together, at least I hope they do. Branch is crazy about Cady and she loves him, too. Henry is revered on the Rez, so I don’t see him working for Walt as a deputy, but I have not read the books, so don’t know. LOVE this series. One of the best on television today. An early renewal and new shows before November would be welcomed.

    • Rusty says:

      I also caught the difference in colors. So branch shot his daddy. It was a surprise to learn that he had Walt’s wife killed. Pretty cold blooded. I didn’t see or catch why Walt’s going to get somebody, but had no idea it was Branch’s dad. Still don’t see how he connected the dots if he was in fact going after Barlow. I figured he was going after one of the two Indians guys who he thought may have had his wife killed. I hope it’s renewed, just to fill in the last few cracks in the story lines.

      • Michelle G. says:

        Walt was going to get Jacob (A Martinez) because he thought Jacob had his wife killed.

        But Branch’s dad didn’t make any sense. Why would the murder of Walt’s wife lead to Branch being elected? Of course he’s crazy because he’s willing to kill his own son to cover up the murder. But the storyline is bugging me now.

        • Chloe says:

          I think Barlow was lying. Remember that Martha died a year before the election even took place. It’s not about Branch. Wasn’t Martha an activist? She probably was on track to discover something that would have hurt Barlow’s business. Plus, it seems that Barlow despises Walt for personal reasons. That probably played into it as well.

          • That’s right and night horse asked Walt if he was picking up where Martha left off. I think Martha discovered something detrimental to night horse and or Barlow so they had her killed. Walt was drinking heavily after her death and almost lost his job as sheriff to branch

    • elainem says:

      Thank you for pointing that out about the shell, dananebr. I have more confidence now that Branch survives. He suspected his father already, and found more evidence in his research about how far his father would go to protect his own interests, so don’t want to believe Branch would be taken totally by surprise when he confronted his father in an isolated spot. Great show and hope we get word soon that it is renewed for Season 4! Good story lines this season, but ready to move on from the murder of Walt’s wife.

    • cheryl says:

      It first looks like hes using yellow, but play it back and see that he loads red the next time. Plus, in those last seconds right after he says ” but I can always make another son” you see for just a second, a shot gun being closed. Branchs was already closed, but Barlows was broke down over his knee. You see the gun closing and hear a shot. but both were using red at the time. Watch it again real slow..in fact, the first time Barlow loads and shoots, it LOOKS yellow, but I think its red..just the way the light hit it i think.

    • Dave Swart says:

      I thought so too but on closer review, the scene opens with what appear to be two gold/yellow shells discharging from Barlows rifle. Then Barlow reloads two RED shells, discharging one and removing a second UNspent shell and placing it back into his pouch. Barlow now has an unloaded rifle and they switch sides of the camera shot. They never SHOW Barlow load another shell. During the line, “…wouldn’t accept campaign money from me…” it APPEARS as if he’s pulling a shell from his pouch but there’s no sight of it – his hand falls to his side out of sight. Nor any sight of Barlow loading it another she’ll. Up till that point he’s had an empty gun broken over his shoulder for the whole scene and we can only assume he pulled a shell and loaded it off camera. But what we do know is he has/had a red shell in his pouch.

  29. Dennis says:

    Awesome show! Not often the tv show is as good or better than the book. Hope it gets renewed. Best show on tv

  30. Randy G. Heise says:

    This show must be picked up again. I have not missed one episode and now we are left hanging about Branch and his dad. Walt must learn the truth! Some of the comments says Branch is dead but he still had one shell in his shotgun so who did die?

  31. Didgens says:

    Love this show MUST renew. Can’t kill branch he’s to georgous to take off the show !

  32. Kathryn says:

    I sure hope they come back for season 4! What an ending! Totally unexpected.

  33. Adam says:

    Omg this is the best show I have ever watched I can’t wait the suspense is killing me. If they don’t renew Longmire I will boycott A&E.

  34. Jackie says:

    Great finale!! I think Barlow was the one that got shot, but not by Branch. I wonder what was in the jar Henry picked up at Hector’s memorial site?

  35. TinLV says:

    I don’t think Branch is dead.. I think his father killed himself instead. He may have thought about killing Branch, but doubtful he could actually do it. I sure hope this show is renewed for another season..

    • JOAN says:

      I don’t think his dad killed himself because of what he said about ” I can have another son” he is a scoundrel and deceitful. I do think though that Branch was quick and did in fact ( in self defense) kill his dad, or knock him over and the gun went off. Can hardly wait and “HOPE” for next season.

    • gessiewtf says:

      What did Barlow mean when he said, “I don’t have time to make another fortune, but I do have time to make another son?” That he didn’t want to leave his fortune to Branch? Well, then don’t. Leave it to charity. He is going to make a baby to run his company? I’m confused. How cold is it to have the white warrior torture and nearly kill his son and drive him mad just for sh**s and gigggles? Aargh! I ran it back three times.

      • Chloe says:

        I don’t Barlow was behind Branch getting shot last season. I think that was David Ridges either on his own or with Jacob’s knowledge. I think Barlow was genuinely pissed about that. I also think he really wanted Branch in the company; why else would he hold on to those business cards for six years? But when he realized that his son was too smart for his own good, Barlow decided to cut his losses with Branch.

  36. Cc says:

    Love this show! It was great to finally get some answers to long-standing mysteries. But they can’t leave us with lingering questions about Branch!

  37. Lylia Sanchez says:

    Great Finale! This is torture having to wait till next year! Please start the new season asap! There will be nothing to watch! Longmire is AWESOME! I just hope Branch wasn’t killed; Branch probably killed his dad. He will then be sentenced to the death penalty. If Branch died OMG!!!! No!!!!! <3 LONGMIRE

    • Nancy says:

      It might be self-defense if daddy pointed his gun at Branch and since there were no witnesses I think Branch will get off with self-defense. I hope Barlow isn’t dead. I just LOVE GERALD MCRANEY. But showing the owl, he must be. :(

  38. V says:

    I want them to stop making Branch the bad guy! I don’t know why (maybe it’s because he is still the detective on Saving Grace). What is the reason that Walt hates him so much….it’s been like this since the beginning of season 1

    • Careen says:

      Branch was Walt’s trusted deputy but then ran against him for Sheriff. He loves Walt and admires him. Not so much his own dad. BUT with the prodding from his father, he did run against Walt but knew in his heart he was not up to it. A good deputy but Walt is an excellent Sheriff and Branch knows it. Barlow was always pushing for Branch to become Sheriff because HE hates Walt. Branch ran and lost but mostly was half hearted about it as well.

      • cheryl says:

        Im wondering if there isnt more in the past between Barlow and the Longmire family? to kill Walts wife because he wants his son to be sherrif??? that dog dont hunt. Im wondering if there isnt more to be dug up in the next series….If he didnt like Walt and wanted branch to be sherrif, why not kill Walt???hmmmmmmsomething else is in Barlows craw.

    • MJR says:

      Walt doesn’t hate Branch, he respects him and treats him like a man that has more to learn and more to offer.

  39. Debbie says:

    Hope this show is renewed. One of the best in a long time that has real heart and emotional impact. The characters have flaws and are just plain human in a lot of their reactions. I do hope all of the main characters return including Branch as his story could go in many different directions, good or bad!

  40. Dave says:

    Hector’s ashes were in the jar, I would think. Branch was ready for his father’s devious act. Or we may find out differently IF the show is renewed. Even so, we’ll have to wait until next June, most likely.

    • Frankie says:

      Hector used that jar as a way for people to comunicate with him when they needed his help.
      I would assume that Henry took the jar full of notes to either continue Hector’s work for him or he was simply removing it because Hector is gone and there is no further point to it being there…
      I personally think that after the loss of Hector and with everything Henry has been through this season that he decided to take the jar so he can continue helping people in Hector’s name.
      Or maybe I’m way off base..
      I guess we’ll have to wait to find out next season.

      • Margie says:

        I was thinking the same thing. I think Henry will take over for Hector.

        • L Gregorash says:

          That was my first thought. Henry blames himself for Hector’s death, and the woman in the office at the Pony a few episodes back stated how much the reserve needed Hector. I can totally see Henry trying to fill that void, although hopefully not with blunt force dental techniques.

      • Cecilia says:

        That’s a great theory, I like that idea. I hope you’re right. Didn’t Henry give up the bar to learn Darius’ location, though? I was confused that he still owned it. I think Branch was onto his father when he went to the range, and was ready. I don’t see how he can go back to being a deputy though-I felt he tacitly gave Ferg his blessing and passed the torch to him.

  41. Alice says:

    The best modern western on TV. Nevermind all the reality c(stuff). Bring back Longmire full season.

  42. Belinda says:

    Great we need more of Longmire and more episodes. Way too short.

  43. MJR says:

    What a fantastic show !!! So much better than anything else on tv. I’m so tired of the reality junk that is on anymore and Longmire takes me back to days of John Wayne. This must continue !!!! Great program A&E keep it or you’re gone from my home.

  44. we want it back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. Iris Jarecke says:

    Long mire is an interesting series that I’ve watched all three years. I truly hope Season 4 is picked up by A&E or another station if A&E is stupid and cancels it. It’s one of my favorite shows. I love the Indian history and beliefs. Robert Taylor is perfect as Walt and all the supporting cast is superb, especially Lou Diamond Phillips.

  46. Michael jones says:


  47. Gena says:

    Longmire! One of the best shows on tv! One of the best cliffhangers ever. Didn’t see that coming at all. Really, really hope for renewal!

  48. Gregg S. says:

    Branch had his gun loaded and closed ready to go , even if distracted for a moment I think he would have got his dad , he knew after saying he could have a new son what his dad was going to try , renew for 4th season asap.

  49. JOAN says:

    Even though I didn’t get into watching Longmire until this season, I am hooked on it now! Went back and read up on what seasons one and two were about. Please Please renew this show, the sooner the better. My only negative thought is that I hope Walt and Vic do NOT get into a relationship. Great finale. Think Branch was too quick to let his dad get the upper hand. If he didn’t shoot his dad, perhaps he knocked him over and we heard the gun shot as Barlow and the gun fell to the ground.