- William Wyler
- Jo Swerling
- Niven Busch
- Stuart N. Lake
- Production Company
- The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Judge Roy Bean, a self-appointed hanging judge in Vinegarroon, Texas, befriends saddle tramp Cole Harden, who opposes Bean's policy against homesteaders.
Cole Harden just doesn't look like a horse thief, Jane-Ellen Matthews tells Judge Roy Bean as she steps up to the bar. Cole says he can't take it with him as he empties all of his coins on the bar to buy drinks for the jury. He notices two big pictures of Lily Langtry behind the bar. Sure, Cole has met the Jersey Lily, whom the hanging judge adores, even has a lock of her hair. Hanging is delayed for two weeks, giving Cole time to get in the middle of a range war between cattlemen and homesteaders and to still be around when Lily Langtry, former mistress of Edward VII who became an international actress, arrives in Texas.
Texas, post-Civil War. Judge Roy Bean is the notorious hanging judge of Vinegarroon - "The Law West of the Pecos". An accused horse thief, Cole Harden, is brought before him one day who, to everyone's surprise, manages to smooth talk himself out of being hanged. Meanwhile tensions are running high between cattle ranchers and new settlers, crop farmers - "Homesteaders". This is a lopsided battle in that Bean tends to side with the ranchers.