Trash bin Monday: Henry Standing Bear, casino operator


Consider this post my trash bin, things that I have wanted to write about, but which just don’t pan out well.

The above video is about the character “Henry Standing Bear,” Walt Longmire’s lifelong best friend in the Longmire series. He is played (very convincingly) by Lou Diamond Phillips. I thoroughly enjoyed his work throughout the series’ six seasons.

Mel BrooksPhillips is of half-Philippine extraction, the other half Scotch-Irish. It is a longstanding movie tradition that Native Americans be played by non-Natives. This does not bother me as it might others. I have seen many white people dressed up as Indians, even one Jewish comedian/director.

In the Longmire series, Henry Standing Bear represented the best qualities of the Cheyenne people. He was honest, strong, deep in personal integrity and highly moral.


This photo is taken from Episode 10 of Season 6 of the series, the closing episode. In a moving closing montage, loose ends are tied up to the tune of Lord Huron’s Ends of the Earth. Walt Longmire and his deputy, Vic, hook up after what one person called “the longest slow burn in TV history.” Walt’s daughter runs for sheriff, and Deputy “The Ferg” summons up the courage to sweep his former lover off her feet after a nasty breakup.

And this scene. Henry is now running a casino. Never mind that he was a bar owner near a reservation throughout, in the closing episode Jacob Nighthorse, the casino owner who is going to prison, asks Henry to take it over. Walt, who was opposed to a casino on the reservation throughout the series, says it’s a good idea. “Who are you, and what have you done with Walt Longmire?,” asks Henry.

The selling point here is that a casino on an Indian reservation becomes a good idea when a good man is in charge. Never mind that people lose their hard-earned money, even their life savings, in such places, or that casinos are magnets for people addicted to gambling. Never mind that they are used for prostitution, money laundering and that alcohol fuels the gambling instinct. Henry is a good man, and the casino provides jobs. All is well.

That bugged me about Longmire. I think it is called putting lipstick on a pig.

This, believe it or not, is linked to Henry Standing Bear running a casino. Years ago I was listening to a radio talk show, and the guest was promoting gambling in some fashion, either a casino or Montana’s video poker market. But he didn’t call it “gambling.” That has a bad connotation, one of addiction and broke losers and people losing their savings to smiling sociopaths in expensive suits. Instead, he called it “gaming.”

So they had consulted with PR people to solve an image problem. “Change the name,” they were told. Don’t call it gambling, and it ceases to be gambling. I called into that radio show and told them (on the air) that it was not “gaming,” but “gambling” they were promoting, and that they ought to use the right term. It was humorous, after that, to hear them stumble over the word “gaming” and then saying “or gambling.” I had an effect.

So Henry Standing bear is involved in gaming, not gambling, and for that reason, it is OK.

That empties my waste basket on this beautiful Monday in snow-packed Colorado. We are knee-deep. Time for a road trip.

27 thoughts on “Trash bin Monday: Henry Standing Bear, casino operator

  1. Mark, Thanks for recommending Longmire….one of my favorite shows and I gobbled it up like a bag of M & M’s….may rewatch the whole series again, it is that good!! It’s funny, Lou Diamond Phillips played Ritchie Valens in La Bamba way back in 1987.


    1. It kind of emphasizes the point that cowboy westerns work. That is all Longmire was, a Hollywood western. I was shocked to read one time that the people who created the character Jim Rockford (The Rockford Files, another favorite series of mine though it has weathered) were knowingly repositioning the character Bret Maverick in a modern setting. (Or Bart … I could never keep them straight.) The Rockford Files was a Western! Who knew? I love it!

      I will never forget one Rockford scene: Jim and his dad visited a real estate development in the desert where the plans call for a lake. “Rocky,” Jim’s dad, endures a sales pitch. Later he says to Jim, “There I was, right in the middle of a desert, Jimmy, and that man tried to sell me a boat.”


      1. I recall the Rockford Files with fondness, as I do with Banacek and early Columbo.
        Rockford trivia: ‘James Garner explained in an interview that Jim Rockford’s license plate number, 853-OKG, was created by his agent, Meta Rosenberg, at the start of the show, and stands for August, 1953, when Garner got his first acting job, and OKG which stands for Oklahoma, his home state, and his own last name, Garner, thereby making “August 1953 Oklahoma Garner” the full meaning of the Firebird license plate. (However, in his autobiography, Garner states that he never knew the origin of the license plate number.)’ Licence plate = 88-33 (15+11+7) for those interested in numbers.


      2. Yes, I’ve heard that there are just so many stories and they are constantly recycled in surprising ways…I would have never considered Rockford Files a western, but it sort of makes sense if you ponder it a bit.


  2. Mark I would not have guessed you still watch TV not to mention a series. But your point is well taken. The powers that be are always trying to embed something new inside us in preparation of what’s coming down the road (legalized betting on rigged sports) or something currently in place they want to see pick up even more $team like ‘gaming’. I myself have no use for TV other than the actual TV itself as a screen for watching my favorite music /rock bands early days/hey days in concert. It’s funny to me how most people claim to love a band or like a band but don’t bother even seeing any of the band’s concert footage on YouTube from year’s past which is usually never disappointing and from my perspective never again so spectacular such as the case with rock group KISS in 1977. Or discoveries like John Cougar Mellencamp being gayer than a $3 bill. Who knew. Checking out concert footage from his ‘Hurts So Good’ American Fool Tour I’ve never in my life seen a supposed straight person acting so gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. And then learning he is linked to every has-been model /actress in Hollywood it’s clear they are beards. It’s also clear Sam Kinison was a much better guitarist than he was comedian later in his career with the exception of the movies. The point being is that you were picking up on gaming versus gambling would be considered commendable against today’s hypnotized mainstream where others think for them as you have stated before. Occasionally in checking in on my Facebook page I’m shocked to see the class of 1984 peeps I graduated with going berserk over Trump and practically everything else that’s fake in this world and not a single person is questioning any of it. So occasionally I’ll throw in ‘this is fake news’ remark hoping to stir a boiling pot of nothing leading to some remarking I’m smoking too much pot which haven’t smoked in years. Could be worse I guess. What if there was no one to try and wake up and everybody knew what was real and what was fake? What would I have to say to anyone then? What if everybody was on the same wavelength? In some sense the powers-that-be give us clues maybe to further separate thus further alienate the dumb from the dumber while in their minds they remain quote unquote the smartest. All I know is before I was even a teenager I knew 1971’s Bless the Beasts & Children would forever be one of my favorite movies the of my life. Cotton’s Dream.


    1. I do watch TV, mostly baseball games, because I am bored. I look for series that have good plots and casts, and the Longmire series fit the bill, the casting, in my mind, nearly perfect (with one huge mistake, introducing a psychiatrist as Longmire’s love interest. This nearly ruined it for me, as she was a pill pusher for the reservation, used to push the antidepressant regime). They wrote her out after one season. Longmire had a few longrunning plot themes and a lot of episodes that were like flavor of the week, not very good. I have not found any other series that grab my attention as did Longmire. I watched one, Mozart in the Jungle, set around classical music, which I love. It was horrible, hardly any music and lots of cheap drama. Others I merely glance at. I do like the PBS series This Old House. I have not watched Rockford since it was on in the 70s (except briefly one time only to find it has not aged well), but I liked it, a lot.

      Two themes that repeat in both Longmire and Mozart are that women are merely men with tits. “Vic,” Walt’s love interest, is a street fighter who clubs men with her fists, as if a beautiful woman is also capable of the same feats of strength as men. Not so. In Mozart they used a oboeist to demonstrate that conductors should be women as well as men, maybe so but it has not panned out that way. The whole thing was contrived and silly.


    2. Here’s a Boulder, CO band you may like. Opened for many of the great acts that rolled through Denver in the late 60s, early 70s.


    3. I have recently discovered the wealth of old 60’s concert footage and have been traveling down memory lane watching youtube footage…so much fun! My 1st concert in 1967, at the age of 16, was The Beach Boys and along with them appeared Paul Revere and The Raiders, Chad and Jeremy and The Lovin’ Spoonful…great memories!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I always wondered about this giving casinos to hands of natives exclusively. And to keep the idea of reservation at all. There seem to be some higher purpose in it. I mean higher that to be just fair to the natives. In Europe we all are our own natives here. But we still have our gypsies which are politically correct called travelers now. They also have special rights. I mean, some few minorities are allowed to keep privileges, are allowed to live a lifestyle others are not allowed to. If travelers come to a place in Germany, where they camp for a while, they don’t leave the place as it was before. It always has to be renewed then, the costs paid by the locals which are not even allowed to protest. No major or any politician will ever say anything against it. they don’t even need any permit to camp anywhere they like. Ain’t that weird? And there are Sinti and Roma travelers. The first ones richer and better educated and despising the other ones. No one ever says anything against it either. I have to pay for healthcare and don’t have a choice. Even if I will stop making any money, I will still have to pay for healthcare. They will seize all my property and when all is gone the state will start to pay for the healthcare I’m not even using. I never go to doctors, you know. No so the travelers. They are allowed to live off the grid as it pleases them.


    1. Gambling on reservations is a quirk of law here in the U.S. Generally speaking until recently gambling was illegal in most places, Nevada and Atlantic City the exceptions, and on riverboats outside of legal jurisdictions. It was treated as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Indian reservations are sovereign entities with their own laws and law enforcement. Police outside of reservations could, if necessary, enforce felonies on reservation land, but not misdemeanors. Ergo, some bright people realized that a casino on a reservation was untouchable. Thus I can get in my car and drive a half an hour and land in a casino up the hill from here, Black Hawk. Fortunately, gambling does not appeal to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Reservation and sovereignty is not a match. As long as tribes accept the numerous benefits of the U.S. of A. their status is, like the rest of us, that of debt-slave.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I read similar things in one of the recent John Grisham novels, yet still it is weird to me. If gambling is a bad thing, why promote it? We have casinos in Germany too. Still private gambling is not allowed. There was this puzzle some time ago called Eternity, invented by the Lord Monckton. The price for the first solution was a million pounds or something. I couldn’t buy it in Germany because this was considered to be a private bet. A British friend brought me then the Eternity 2 and it was quite fun to program a solution finder. I didn’t find a complete solution though. Nobody did. Maybe this Mo(n)ckton did mock us and there is no solution.


        1. There was a Supreme Court decision last year legalizing sports betting. (Those nine judges are our final source of law in this country, an absurd idea but the way we do things.) Anyway, gambling on sports is now legal everywhere here. We also have lotteries in every state, and Orwell may have had the final word there, that the big winners are paid actors, and only tiny prizes are actually awarded. “Fantasy” sports are a big business … gambling, though most if it technically illegal, is like prostitution, publicly outlawed, privately accepted as normal.

          I doubt Germans know Pete Rose, but he holds the record for the most hits ever for a baseball player, and was publicly shamed for gambling and kept out of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Order of Demolay, a mason, and I do not know what that means. But I have suspicions that he was publicly tarred and feathered as a way of allowing baseball to separate itself from gambling (excuse me, gaming) even as gambling is the mother’s milk of all sports. Rose’s career is somewhat like Tom Brady’s, Suoerbowl quarterback, that is, he was not a great athlete but seemed able to accomplish great feats in spite of lack of talent. Something is amiss.


          1. By the way, our system is designed like the British one in that we have a “House of Commons” which we call our House of Representatives and Senate, and a “House of Lords” which really has final say on everything, which we call our Supreme Court. In the matter of the rape of my then-eight-year-old daughter, the Supreme Court just ruled last week that the perpetrator, Ronald Tipton, walks free, cannot be tried.


  4. oh, and by the way, if you like a good western try the latest Cohen Brothers. I liked The Ballad of Buster Scruggs a lot. Haven’t seen such a good movie in a while. My favorite was the Liam Neeson story. Also Tom Waits was excellent.


  5. Mark, Pete Rose is the greatest baseball player who ever lived. Name one player who started/plated practically every position besides pitcher and catcher & could switch hit. Name one player who single handedly brought a World Series Championship to a team the way Pete Rose did Philadelphia. Name one player who embodied the head first slide running the bases not while stealing a base like Pete did. Can you say airborne. Name one pro playing so heads-up they caught a baseball popping out of a catcher’s mitt the way Pete did. Name one player who wss player/coach the way Pete was while managing the Reds. Name player besides the Babe who was known world wide the way Pete was as Charlie Hustle. Mark no one playing professional sports holds a record like most career hits the way Pete does with lack of talent. Comparing Tom Brady to Pete Rose is like comparing a Ompaloompa to Wilt the Stilt.


      1. I was a huge Cincinnati fan in the 1970s, a huge Pete Rose fan. It was hard to see him leave the Reds for a paltry $800;000 that the team would not pay him. Throughout the time that I followed him and them it was repeated by pundits and Rose himself that all of his accomplishments cam despite a lack of natural talent, just hard work and hustle, everyman’s player. I am not saying his feats are not genuine, as I cannot know such a thing, but I ask you how Tom Brady is allowed to break all the records around given your analysis of his quarterback skills, which you say are paltry.

        [Pete’s natural position was left field, where team’s usually slot a weak defensive player. But they had to move him to 3B to make room for George Foster, and so in every game where the Reds were ahead late, Sparky would make a defensive change at 3B, sitting Rose down. Defense was not his prowess.]


        1. I played little league baseball on (shortened-bases) at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, NY. The Pete Rose story is no more insane than the origin of baseball, a story, which has never made it to the “big leagues.”

          I doubt is was “invented” by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. Having lived in Cooperstown, one should look no further than the (Stephen) Clark Family. Know nothing about this source:

          Fruit from the “poison tree” and all….


  6. “When Rose reached his senior year, he had used up his four years of sports eligibility. In the spring of 1960, he joined the Class AA team sponsored by Frisch’s Big Boy of Lebanon, Ohio in the Dayton Amateur League. He played catcher, second base and shortstop and compiled a .626 batting average. This would have been the pinnacle of Rose’s baseball career if not for the help of his uncle Buddy Bloebaum. Bloebaum was a “Bird dog” scout for the Reds and he pleaded the case for his nephew.[5] The Reds, who had recently traded away a number of prospects who turned out to be very good, decided to take a chance on Pete. Upon his graduation from high school, Rose signed a professional contract.” Wiki^^. Rose also served 6 years in the Army Reserve. As did several other team mates. He went to SA for a offseason to play more ball & improve ‘his game’. His ’70’s Aqua Velva endorsement? Check the label, it’s shaped like the compass-square-cube/diamond of the game. The company colors? Red & blue (lodges) figure into the motif. “A man wants to smell like a man” That stint OUTSIDE of Cinci? What was the real reason? But in the end the PTB spokesmen tell you all the truth…..”realx folks, it’s just a game” Being played upon your emotions.


  7. I read a lot of that link, interesting … no surprise that the Doubleday story is fake. Baseball is a masonic game. I still like it. Below is a logo that the Reds are currently using … it looks suspiciously masonic but I am not a go-to on that stuff. The Reds used it in the late 1800’s. As I said to a friend friend last year, it is a mistake to cheer for a team named after a color, ala Reds, Browns. Lose lose lose.



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