While doing double-duty keeping the Red Pony open while Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips) rots in prison where his arrival has not gone unnoticed by the incarcerated former Tribal Sheriff Malachi (Graham Greene), Walt (Robert Taylor) investigates a dead 17 year-old Russian hitchhiker (Mary Elise Hayden) strangled and left under a bridge. Walt and Vic (Katee Sackhoff) talk to the woman’s American adoptive parents who were happy to get rid of her and an Arizona rehabilitation facility where she spent the last six weeks before running away but the truth to her death is lies in-between.
Further investigation turns up an online chat room “swap meet” and a second American couple who agreed to “re-home” the girl with them based on their experience with Russian daughters. Searching deeper into the now missing couple reveals sexual abuse which only flamed the young girl’s rebellious streak before being forcibly incarcerated in the rehabilitation facility. Eventually finding the last driver to pick the girl up on the road fills in the missing pieces to the night she left as Walt and Vic search for the predators responsible for the young girl’s death.
Branch (Bailey Chase) returns to work although appears to be both physically and mentally not quite up to the job. And Henry gets ruffed up in prison from Malachi and others partly for being “half-Indian” and partly as revenge against Longmire. The repeated attacks and the ineptitude of the public defender force Cady (Cassidy Freeman) to step in as Henry’s new lawyer.
Spending the night in Arizona while working allows the show to amp up the sexual tension between Longmire and Vic, although nothing untoward actually takes place. And the inevitable move of Cady taking over as Henry’s legal representation means the trial may finally move forward (if Henry can survive long enough in prison). Although I’m not going to hold my breathe for it to evolve into a permanent friendship, I like the change in Branch and Walt’s relationship following his shooting and Walt saving the deputy’s life. That and the fact that Walt can’t bear to send Branch home knowing how much the man needs to be working after all he’s been through leads for some interesting options of where to take Branch this season.