A dark, bitter commentary on modern American life cloaked in the form of a surrealist western, Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man stars Johnny Depp as William Blake, a newly-orphaned accountant who leaves his home in Cleveland to accept a job in the frontier town of Machine. Upon his arrival, Blake is told by the factory owner Dickinson (Robert Mitchum) that the job has already been filled. Dejectedly, he enters a nearby tavern, ultimately spending the night with a former prostitute. A violent altercation with the woman's lover (Gabriel Byrne), also Dickinson's son, leaves Blake a murderer as well as mortally wounded, a bullet lodged dangerously close to his heart. He flees into the wilderness, where a Native American named Nobody (Gary Farmer) mistakes Blake for the English poet William Blake and determines that he will be Blake's guide in his protracted passage into the spirit world.
by Jason Ankeny synopsis