Following his own sacrifice in the desert and Cady (Cassidy Freeman) awaking from her coma, Longmire (Robert Taylor) returns to work to investigate the murder of a local game warden by a poacher killing elk out of season for ingredients for an expensive herbal remedy. The search for the poacher leads Longmire back to the hospital and a father (Lochlyn Munro) with a sick young son (Cameron Moulene) showing the side-effects of the supplement and to a Chinese engineer (Nelson Lee) who admits to bringing small amounts into the country legally but denies any involvement in harvesting organs to create his own supply or the murder.
Although Longmire is able to eventually find his poacher (A.J. Buckley), with the help of Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips) and Omar (A.J. Buckley), but to the sheriff’s dismay the man behind the murder turns out not to be the hunter but a local taxidermist (Jim Beaver) and friend who became desperate when his wife’s (Breon Gorman) final round of chemotherapy wasn’t enough to halt the cancer slowly killing her.
Branch (Bailey Chase), while continuing his investigation into Cady’s accident which he believes may have been caused by one of Jacob Nighthorse’s (A Martinez) thugs, makes a surprise visit to Henry seeking advice when he discovers, much to everyone’s surprise, that he’d like to continue working as a deputy under the man he challenged, and lost to, in the recent election.
Although Branch spends most of the episode soul searching, his decision to stay a deputy, and Walt’s acceptance of that decision, help the show begin to slowly return to the status quo. Given that decision it will be interesting to see how Branch’s relationships with Walt, Cady, and Nighthorse change over the remainder of the season and beyond. The fact that the game warden wasn’t killed for a fast profit but in part of a hopeless cause fueled by love and loss makes the end for the taxidermist and his wife (who knew Longmire’s wife), and even for our sheriff, much more bitter.