A no account outlaw establishes his own particular brand of law and order and builds a town on the edges of civilization in this farcical western. With the aid of an old law text and ...
- John Huston
- First Artists
It's the turn of the nineteenth into twentieth centuries in Vinegaroon, Texas, west of the Rio Pecos, an area known for its general lawlessness. Due largely to an incident which nearly kills him, outlaw Roy Bean appoints himself the judge for the region, he setting up his residence and court in what was previously the saloon and whorehouse in town. He figures he has the moral authority and knowledge of the laws of Texas to become a judge in what was his flagrant disregard of those laws up to this point. He presides over court with a book of Texas statutes in front of him and his fan worship of actress Lillie Langtry in the form of large posters of her behind him. He also appoints a band of fellow outlaws as his marshals, who work solely under his direction. Standing by him through these proceedings is a young Mexican woman named Maria Elena, who saved him from that near death incident, she, in what is to look proper, living in the small shack next to the saloon instead of with him in the saloon. He becomes renowned for brandishing his form of largely illegal justice, which usually ends in the person on trial being convicted on loose judgments and hanged outside the saloon. As an odd and interesting assortment of people (and some non-humans) pass through Vinegaroon and Roy's life, he is able to build the town largely in his vision. But as he has many detractors, the question becomes how long he will last before someone hits the big target that is on his back.