If you haven’t ever seen the 1989 classic Road House, you need to just go ahead and download it on Amazon Prime, or if ya still have a VCR for some odd reason, go to your local antique or thrift store, find it on tape, and watch it right now.
Spoiler Alert… if you haven’t seen it yet, scroll on through.
The movie takes you on a journey of one of the best bouncers in the business, James Dalton (Patrick Swayze), who has been asked by a small town honky-tonk owner that’s incredibly rough around the edges (to say the least), and clean it up so he can remodel the place and expand.
Dalton takes the deal at the Double Deuce, does a damn good job of getting the place in order, considering it’s a place where they used to have to “sweep up the eyeballs every night.”
However, there’s one man that stands in his way, and that’s Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara).
Wesley is a multi-millionaire business tycoon who practically runs the town himself, and takes advantage of the people. The citizens are fed up, but they don’t have the power to take him down.
Dalton does what he can, but it’s not until Wesley and his gang kill his best friend Wade Garrett (Sam Elliott), when he finally realizes he has to take matters into his own hands.
He goes to Wesley’s house with fire in his eyes, kills all of his gang single handedly, and meets Wesley one on one. Dalton almost kills him, but decides to spare his life.
However, a few of the citizens meet Dalton at the house, and essentially shoot the millionaire dead. The police come, and ask what the hell happened. Everybody responds, “I didn’t see nothin’.”
The movie ends, and it appears everyone is let off the hook for the murder.
And who could forget the legendary scene of Sam Elliott dancing with Swayze’s girl at that diner to George Strait’s “All My Exes Live In Texas.”
Stealing the biggest ’80s heart throb’s girl? Only Sam Elliott could pull that off…
It might just be the best thing you watch all day.
As legendary as the movie is, you would think that the majority of it is incredibly unrealistic.
But what if I told you, the movie is loosely based off a true story?
Of course, it’s never been set in stone before, but several critics and fans believe the story is based on the case of Ken McElroy, a small town Missouri scum bag who was collectively killed in front of 40 plus people, and nobody went to jail for it.
According to FOX 2, McElroy had been terrorizing Skidmore, Missouri, for quite some time, being accused of theft, livestock rustling, burglary, arson, assault, rape, and child molestation.
However, he was constantly able to get out of it through witness intimidation, and continued to terrorize the citizens of Skidmore.
With that being said, there was one run in that ultimately cost him his life.
In 1980, McElroy’s son got into an argument with the town grocer, Ernest “Bo” Bowenkamp, over a stolen piece of candy. He shot Bowenkamp in the neck, but Bo barely survived.
He was arrested for attempted murder, but freed after being released on bail pending trial. He then proceeded to stalk and threaten several families who were wanting him locked up for life.
Later on, he showed up to a bar with an M1 Garand rifle and bayonet, saying he was going to kill Bowenkamp once in for all.
However, he never had the chance to, as he was shot to death in front of his wife while sitting in his pickup truck in broad daylight.
He was shot from bullets from at least two different firearms, and there was estimated to be between 30-46 witnesses, but nobody stepped up and said what happened, and nobody was ever acquitted for murder.
Needless to say, even the police wanted this scumbag gone for good.
Now say what you want, maybe this is just a coincidence, but as far as the storyline of Brad Wesley and Ken McElroy goes, the two are incredibly similar.
Stalking, intimidating, and hurting people of the town and abusing their power? Citizens killing both of the “bullies,” and everybody saying “they didn’t see anything?”
Not to mention, both stories took place in small towns in Missouri.