Burt Lancaster stars! Ranchers out for a night of drinking and revelry accidentally kill an old man. Months later, dogged marshal, Jared Maddox, arrives to arrest them for murder!


Lawman (1971)

Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Lee J. Cobb, and Robert Duvall star in this action-packed, psychological Western that asks the question: how far should you go in the pursuit of justice?

A group of trail-weary cattlemen come to the town of Bannock and shake off the trail dust by getting drunk and rowdy. When their celebrations go overboard, they accidentally kill an old man with a stray shot. They go home to Sabbath, not even realizing they’ve killed anyone.

Many months later, Bannock Marshal Jared Maddox shows up with the body of one of the revelers draped over a pack horse. He informs local marshal Cotton Ryan he’s there to arrest everyone involved in the drunken celebrations—and he’s charging them with murder!

Ryan explains that he probably won’t be able to round up the men on his list, since the town is bought and paid for by local cattle baron Vincent Bronson. Most of the men Maddox is looking for work on Bronson’s ranch.

Hoping to buy off the Bannock marshal, Bronson promises to pay restitution for the accident. But Maddox can’t be bought; he has the warrants for their arrests, and he is adamant that he will see justice done.

Family men and criminals alike are being swept up in Maddox’s web, and he has no compassion for any of them. The fact that the entire town hates him and wants him gone does not bother Maddox one bit. He’s got a job to do, and he will do it without pause.

Although the ranch foreman suggests killing the marshal, Bronson insists that they negotiate. But as time passes, it becomes clear that Maddox will never compromise. “I’m gonna take these men back with me, or kill ‘em where they stand,” Maddox tells Ryan.

None of the men will admit any wrongdoing. Their options are to go back with Maddox, have their day in court, and possibly get off with a slap on the wrist. Or stand their ground. Bronson and his men double down and refuse to go willingly.

Since the townspeople won’t budge and Maddox won’t relent, hostilities start to boil over. Now, it’s only a matter of time before the bullets start to fly, and this time, they’re not stray.