Mexico, 1949. When a corrupt mayor is murdered by disgruntled villagers, Governor Lopez (Armendáriz), who's up for re-election, has him replaced by Vargas (Alcázar), an honest and loyal garbage supervisor. Attempts to improve the backwater are stifled when Vargas realises his predecessor stole the entire budget. Instead of money, Lopez hands Vargas a gun and explains Herod's Law: 'Screw them or they'll screw you.' Vargas gets the hang of it, with the help of greedy gringo Cox, and rapidly becomes a paranoid, misogynistic megalomaniac. This black comedy takes satirical swipes at connivance, corruption and the self-serving attitude of Mexican politicians in a country ruled by the same party for seven decades. In a spooky irony, the government tried to ban the film. They failed and lost the election.