At the start of "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean," the title character(Paul Newman) is not yet a member of the legal profession. Quite the opposite, in fact, as he is an outlaw in the badlands west of the Pecos, intent on bragging, drinking and whoring but is instead savagely beaten and left for dead. However, Marie Elena(Victoria Principal) takes pity on him, nurses him back to health and gives him a gun. After Bean gets his revenge on all concerned, Reverend LaSalle(Anthony Perkins) comes along to give some advice and help bury the bodies. Bean decides to take up being the law of the land with help from some incompetent criminals who make betters marshals.
Written by John Milius, directed by John Huston and performed by an eclectic cast(wait until you see Stacy Keach), "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" is a mischievous and irreverent western. By going a different route, the movie gets quite a lot right in how the west was won, going from lawlessness to legal brutality to respectability, as Judge Roy Bean helps make Texas safe for normal people. At the same time, the movie gives a very good idea about the kind of people who moved west to make a new life for themselves, many of them outcasts.