This paper presents an analytical thermo-mechanical model of shear localization and shear band formation in orthogonal cutting of high-strength metallic alloys. The deformation process of the workpiece material includes three stages: homogeneous deformation, shear localization, and chip segmentation. A boundary layer analysis is used to analytically predict the temperature, stress, and strain rate variations in the primary shear zone associated with the shear localization. The predictions of shear band spacing and width from the proposed model are verified by experimental characterization of the chip morphology. The rolling of shear bands on the tool rake face is discussed from the experimental observations. The cutting tool temperature, which is influenced by the heat generated during the shear band formation, is simulated and compared with finite element simulations. The proposed analytical model reveals the fundamental mechanism of the complete shear localization process in orthogonal cutting and predicts the stress and temperature variations with high computational efficiency.