The Wild West was a rough and tumble place, so it’s kind of fitting that the series premiere of Walker Independence begins with a tumble in the sheets in a wagon headed out West that ends in tragedy.
The Walker prequel spinoff introduces us to educated Bostonian Abigail Collins (played by Arrow‘s Katherine McNamara), who is making the trek to the booming frontier town of Independence, Texas, with her cop husband Liam. They’re both looking for a fresh start away from the corruption of Boston. But Abby feels like Liam, who is set to be Independence’s new sheriff, is hiding something (“I love you more than you will ever know. That’s my only secret,” he says sweetly), and she might be onto something, because just minutes later, their wagon is ambushed. A mysterious man shoots and kills Abby’s husband and wounds her, as well. Abby wanders off and collapses in a field, where an Apache tribe rescues her and gives her the moniker Walks in Tall Grass, paving the way for her to later take on the name of Abigail Walker.
One of the Apaches, Calian (Justin Johnson Cortez), takes Abby to town, but hangs back because he doesn’t think the locals will take kindly to seeing an Apache with a white woman. While Abby wanders around Independence, Hoyt Rawlins (Walker‘s Matt Barr) literally bumps into her. He’s just arrived after pretending to be a preacher and scamming a bunch of people in another town, not to mention sleeping with one guy’s wife. (“If it makes you feel any better, she wasn’t the only one,” Hoyt retorts to the man. It does not make him feel better.) To add insult to jury, Hoyt then took the man’s horse, whom he named Cordell.
Needless to say, Hoyt doesn’t make the best first impression on Abby, who asks him what kind of man drinks during the day. Plus, he covertly steals her wedding ring, something which Abby realizes while meeting the kindly Deputy Augustus (Philemon Chambers) and the new sheriff, Tom Davidson (When Hope Calls‘ Greg Hovanessian), who took over when her husband didn’t show up for work. (That last name should also ring a bell for Walker fans.)
Abby is startled as she realizes that Davidson is the man who killed her husband. After seeing what kind of person Hoyt is during a gun standoff, she asks him to help her kill Davidson, but he’s not willing to take that risk. So she snags his weapon and prepares to do the task herself at the big welcome party for Davidson that evening. Hoyt, however, stops her, causing the bullet to just graze Davidson’s jacket. Hoyt reveals that the sheriff is actually from Boston and has been buying up land all around town and stealing cattle.
Abby takes Hoyt back to the site of her husband’s murder, and with Calian’s help, the trio bury his body. Abby tells Hoyt and Calian that she’s staying in Independence not for revenge, but justice. Davidson must be stopped so he’ll never do this again.
Elsewhere in the pilot, Abby is also befriended by Kate Carver (How to Get Away With Murder‘s Katie Findlay) and Kai (Wu Assassins‘ Lawrence Kao). Kate is a rather chatty burlesque dancer who works for dance hall/hotel owner Hagan (Supernatural‘s Mark Sheppard), while Kai is a Chinese immigrant who is starting his own laundry/restaurant business. It seems like Kai might have a crush on Kate — or maybe he’s just suspicious because she might be a spy? As viewers learn, Kate is detailing the town’s happenings via telegram for Allan Pinkerton.
Rounding out the ensemble is Lucia Reyes (Gabriela Quezada), the daughter of a rancher who’s sleeping with Hoyt… but for how long, now that Abby’s arrived?
What did you think of Walker Independence? Did you catch all the Walker shout-outs (The Side-Step Saloon!)?