Walker fans—throw your cowboy hats high into the air because this right here is the show you’ve been waiting for!
Walker Independence has all the makings of an action-packed Western that the Walker reboot always aspired to be but never could accomplish in a modern-day setting.
The prequel, set in the 1800s, focuses on the Walker family’s ancestors, specifically Abby Walker, who arrives in Independence, Texas (Austin, Texas in the present day) after the death of her husband, Liam. While her real name is Abigail Collins, she takes on the surname Walker (inspired by a nickname “Walks in Tall Grass” given to her by Calian, an Apache who saves her life along with the elders in his trib) after the traumatic murder.
The premiere episode slightly mirrors the first episode of Walker in that we see Abby mourn the loss of her soulmate much like Cordell Walker did following the death of his wife.
The past shapes and informs the future, and as we uncover what happened in the 1800s, we begin to understand the current Walker family so much better.
However, Walker Independence stands on its own. You don’t need to be a fan of Walker–or have ever seen an episode—to enjoy the series, so don’t be deterred if that’s the case. Still, it is fun if you’re a fan of the original as there are many parallels, callbacks, and Easter eggs that connect back. Liam, it turns out, isn’t the only family name passed down through generations as Hoyt Rawlins, a character reprised by Matt Barr, names his horse Cordell.
Abby is an ancestor to the matriarch Abby Walker that we know from Austin, and they’re both fearless and driven in their own right. As most Westerns put a man in the saddle, Walker Independence challenges gender roles and counts mostly on Abby to take the lead. By the end of the episode, she decides to settle down in Independence and fight for justice on her own terms. She may have lost her husband and witnessed his murder, but she’s not a victim; She’s not going to sit by idly and let the man that killed him get away. She’s going to get her revenge, one way or another, and she has a diverse cast of players to help her out.
One of those people is the aforementioned Hoyt, who truly isn’t much different than the present-day Hoyt we got to know ever so briefly. Barr was made to play Hoyt in both iterations. He’s still a gambler, womanizer, and criminal, but it’s all in the name of survival because underneath it all, he’s a kind man whose path crosses with Abby’s as she begs him to help her seek out justice. Upon arriving in town, she immediately identifies her husband’s killer as the new Sheriff in town… Sheriff Tom… Tom Davidson. . If you’ve always been infatuated by the Walker and Davidson feud in the present day, this is actually the origin story of that feud. And it’s dark and ugly, and, quite frankly, makes me despise the Davidson family even more. Marv Davidson’s death was nothing in comparison to the death of Liam Collins.
Abby and Hoyt immediately have a spark, but it’s unclear how long it’ll take them to act on it considering Abby is recently widowed and Hoyt is romancing Luisa, a Spanish woman whose family, particularly her brother, seems to disapprove of her relationship with him. She informs them that Davidson took on the role of Sheriff as his family arrived from Boston and began stealing land from settlers all around with the hopes of getting away with it.
Hoyt is trouble, sure, but she really threw caution to the wind when she asked him to help her commit murder just because she saw him rob a bank is a huge ask. Her determination is admirable, and I can see a future for Independence where she defeats Tom Davidson and takes over as the new Sheriff
As I said, they have a connection, so while Hoyt is determined to shake Abby, he eventually ends up helping her bury her husband’s rotting corpse and vows to help her in any way that he can.
Independence seems to be a budding town filled with lost souls running from something and looking to carve a name and path for themselves, including Calian, Deputy Augustus, who may be one of the rare yet honorable policemen, Kate, an entertainer who works at the hotel owned by Nathaniel Hagan (who just sounds like trouble), and Kai, a man from China who works doing the laundry at the hotel and is clearly in love with Kate.
Kate is friendly to Abby initially, but she also sneaks a peek at the telegraph she sends back home to inform them of Liam’s death and figures out that Abby might suspect the new Sheriff. It’s unclear if we can fully trust her at this point, but I’m hoping she’ll be a source of female empowerment and friendship for Abby. We know she could use it. Could she possibly be Geri’s ancestor in some way?
This isn’t just the origin story of the Walker family but also the Side Step Saloon. While it’s fun to see it in this dated form, I’m hoping we see how the Walker family gets ownership.
Independence may have been a rough start for Abigail, but it’s full of possibilities; it offers the promise of a fresh start and a found family. I hope she makes the most of it and doesn’t spend too much time living in the past. While revenge is great, it won’t change what happened, and by focusing too much on the past, you might miss out on a great future.
Walker, Independence is a reimagined Western that incorporates all the elements people love about the genre while also tackling the bigger issues and telling raw and honest stories about racism, sexuality, and more.
What will Abby do next? How will Hoyt’s carefree vibe fit into it? And who is ready to see everyone band together to take down the Davidsons?
Let us know what you thought of the Walker Independence Series Premiere!
Walker Independence Review – Blood & Whiskey (103)
Abigail Walker is a not a woman to be messed with.
On Walker Independence Season 1 Episode 3, she accepted Sherriff Tom’s job offer so that she could get answers about her husband’s death, but she quickly proved to be an asset for the town—and a thorn in Tom’s side.
Abigail is resourceful, so when her first item on the agenda was delivering an eviction to the Sullivan sisters, she immediately began working on a way to help them keep their stores open. And that proved more difficult than she thought because all the town’s people were going to neighboring towns for much-needed supplies simply to avoid the sisters and their constant arguing. Their inability to put aside their differences was literally driving people away from their stores.
Abigail, however, also realized that Tom had a personal investment in the property as he was trying to scoop up the 200 acres that came with it for his own selfish reasons, which is why he expedited the eviction on behalf of the bank himself. This made her that much more determined to help the Sullivan sisters put an end to their feud and make the money necessary to pay off the debt.
With Kate’s help, along with the dancers, the turnout at the Sullivan shops was incredible, and they were able to pay off their loan and then some, which did not sit well with Tom as it directly sabotaged his plans.
Abigail sarcastically commended the Sheriff on only being there a few weeks and getting so much done to help the community, and at this point, they both have to be onto each other. They’re both playing the game all too well.
Hoyt and Calian were against Abigail’s decision to join the Sheriff’s office—and it’s sweet how much they both care for her— but she understood that a core principal of survival included keeping your enemies closer. She didn’t stay out of the lion’s den; she walked proudly into it. And I’m hoping her position will keep him in check and hold him accountable, so at the very least, it’s harder for him to get away with his shady plans.
Kate may be a helpful hand whenever Abigail needs it, but she doesn’t exactly trust her new roommate either. She’s not naive—she’s been trying to figure her out since her arrival by observing and analyzing. And the same goes for Abigail. By the end of the episode, she found Kate’s gun and they both had the same question—who are you?! I can’t wait to get her backstory!
Only a few people in town know Abigail’s true story, but I’m hoping Kate can be one of those trusted confidants. In man’s world, it’s a blessing to meet another tough and cunning woman and befriend her. Kate knows a thing or two about the town that could come in handy, while Abigail is fearless because she has absolutely nothing to lose. This has the makings of an epic friendship.
Speaking of friendship, Hoyt and Calian are totally buddies, but since this isn’t your typical friendship, they aren’t exactly going to own up to the fact that they make a good team and enjoy each other’s company.
For most of the episode, Hoyt got pulled back into his past life, where he pretended to be a preacher in a town that seemingly trusted him all too well.
When Jacob knocked him out, a throwback to what Hoyt did to Jacob in the premiere, it definitely seemed like retaliation. So, when Hoyt woke up in Angel Springs with all of the villagers that he wronged staring right back at him, he began to sing like a canary, repenting for all of his sins. “Lived a life of lies and transgressions” is what he called it. Hoyt is a master manipulator and actor who will milk any situation to his advantage.
Turns out, they didn’t really care about all he’d done, but they did need have another purpose for him as they needed his criminal expertise in stopping a bunch of thieves who were robbing their whiskey deliveries. He owed them, and Jacob (whose wife he slept with), that much.
Hoyt was up to the task, but when things went south and he was ambushed by the group of robbers he used to run with, he decided against helping. “Welp, I tried,” was his response.
That’s when Calian, who is not a runner and finishes what he started, unlike Hoyt, pushed him to be a better man, and together, they get the whiskey back and help a community in need that only ever showed kindness Hoyt’s way. Small baby steps, but Hoyt definitely has it in him to do the right thing. With Calian’s help, he’ll get there.
The duo went into battle together, this time for a completely different reason than defeating the new shady and murderous sheriff, but it was just as action-packed and exciting as ever!
Unfortunately, Calian was scolded by his people for prioritizing his friendships with the others. It was heartbreaking to see him torn between his people and his new friends, but it likely isn’t the first or last time. As an “outsider,” it’s hard to find your place and fit in, especially when you are open to changes that your people have never considered. But my guess is that Calian and the Apache people will play a significant role in stopping Tom from his ruthless land grab and taking what doesn’t belong to him because his plans seem bigger than anyone imagined.
Lucia’s family, including her father, Senor Reyes, was also largely impressed with Calian and how eloquently he spoke and presented himself while addressing the issue of the cattle being stolen in comparison to Hoyt, which only further angered the latter and fueled his hatred. Hoyt’s going to have to prove that he can stay out of trouble for at least a minute if he wants to earn the respect of Lucia’s family, or even convince Lucia to continue giving him any more of her attention.
It seems as though Abigail wasn’t the only one hurt by Tom Davidson as he’s a common enemy for everyone in and around town, including Deputy Gus, who was also threatened by Tom. It’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed!
What did you think of the third episode? Are you enjoying all the action? Do you think the Sheriff is aware that Abigail is onto him?
Walker Independence Review – Home to a Stranger (1×02)
Abigail, Hoyt, and Calian double down on their efforts to bring Sheriff Tom Davidson to justice on Walker Independence Season 1 Episode 2, but the new authority in town proves that he’s not going to be easy to take down.
Tom Davidson is a slick fox who seems pretty aware that there are forces out there trying to expose him for Liam Walker’s murder, so he takes matters into his own hands and delivers a murderer to the town instead.
Of course, the man he arrests, Griffin, is a criminal that Tom has been paying to steal cattle from the Reyes farm, so by putting the blame on him, he’s killing two birds with one stone and guaranteeing that Griffin doesn’t talk and expose him.
It’s a smart tactic, in the same way asking Abby to dinner is—keep your friends close and your enemies closer, they always say for a reason. There’s not a doubt in my mind that Tom Davidson knows Abigail’s real identity. They’re dancing around the truth with each other. And if for some reason, Tom wasn’t aware of the connection, well, he likely pieced it together when he heard her playing the same song she played on the piano right before Liam was shot to death.
When Abigail realizes Tom is there lurking in the shadows, she’s visibly thrown off, and that feeling only intensifies when he offers her a job at the Sheriff’s office because he thinks “they could make a hell of a team.” He’s not wrong as Abby’s definitely knowledgeable about the law!
It’s an odd offer, sure, but it does lean into my theory from the Walker Independence series premiere review that Abby could one day be Sheriff of this town. It also begs the question—why did Tom kill Liam? Was it because he wanted the spot as Sheriff or was the connection deeper? Did they know each other? Did Tom want a shot with Abby?
Working alongside Tom has its advantages, but it also comes at the cost of her freedom as she won’t be able to investigate as freely as she’s been doing thus far.
Thankfully, she still has Hoyt and Calian, who are willing to do the dirty work, as they proved with their bar fight distraction to get Hoyt into the same cell as Griffin so that they could help his escape. The trio has been doing their best to unearth the truth about Tom, but every plan has faced some hiccups. When Hoyt left Deputy Augustus a note about the murder along with the location of the body, Tom picked it up instead. He dug up the body and brought it into town, which made him look innocent. Then, when they freed Griffin, Augustus shot and killed him before they could get any intel out of him.
And can we trust Augustus? It doesn’t seem like it. The Deputy wants to make a name for himself in town, but he seems to trust Tom a lot. Calian wanted to tell him the truth, but it didn’t seem as though Augustus was receptive. I’m holding off my judgment for now, but I don’t think he’s in their corner in the same way that Kai is.
Their town is budding with friends and foes, though, I’m hoping Kate is the former as she welcomed Abby by giving her a place to stay. Her hospitability nature almost masked the fact that Kate is like the town’s gossip—she sees and knows all—and she works as a CI. She questions the new Sherriff’s motives, while also wondering what happened to Liam Collins’ wife. And since she read the telegraph Abby sent, my guess is she’s holding on to the piece of information until she gets more intel to confirm her theory about Abby.
While I can’t figure out whether Kate is someone we can trust just yet, she does seem to have the dancers’ best interests at heart, forcing hotel owner Nathaniel Hagan to cough up the cash and pay the women what they deserve, or else there won’t be a show. Her relationship with Nathaniel seems pretty comfortable, but I can’t figure out if she’s his daughter, wife, or simply a trusted friend who helps keep things running. Only time will tell, but I’m hoping her friendship with Abigail can be a source of empowerment for them both to take on the patriarchy and take back what belongs to them: the town and the little cottage in the woods where Liam and Abby were supposed to create a home!
Other moments to highlight:
- Kai made Lucia a stunning dress—it was a true Cinderella moment. The man has talent and taste!
- Lucia realized that Hoyt was the bank robber and was not pleased. Their relationship doesn’t seem stable at all, so I’m fine if they go their separate ways.
- Abby has been through so much, including seeing her husband’s corpse flashed for the town to see, and she remains resilient as ever, even stomaching a meal with her husband’s killer.
- There are so many potential love interests for Abby. While the most obvious one is Hoyt, there’s definitely a chemistry with Calian. And I’m not excluding Tom and Kate either. This Western may be set in the 1800s, but it’s tackling modern issues and storylines!
What did you think of the episode? Do you think Walker Independence has staying power?
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