is an unincorporated community located in Val
Verde County, Texas, United
States. The community is notable as the location of Judge Roy
Bean, the "Law West of the Pecos".
Langtry was originally established in 1882 by Southern
Pacific as a grading camp named "Eagle Nest." It was later renamed
for George Langtry, an engineer and foreman who had supervised a Chinese work crew building the railroad. Roy
Bean soon after arrived and set up a tent saloon on
In 1884 a post
office opened, and in 1892 the town was reported to have a general
store, a railroad
depot, and two saloons (one of them Bean's "The Jersey Lily"). The
Lilly was named after the Jersey actress Lillie
Langtry, who was unrelated to George Langtry.
After Bean's death in 1903 the town began to decline after the highway was moved slightly
north for a more direct route, thus bypassing the town. In the 1920s Southern Pacific moved its facilities away from the town, and
the town population dwindled to 50. By the 1970s the population dipped as low as 40. Tourism to the Judge
Roy Bean Visitor
Center continues to keep the town alive and has helped to increase its
population back up to 145 according to the 1990 census.
Depictions in the media
The town's exposure in mass media helped to renew interest in the town.
1940's The Westerner, featuring Walter
Brennan as antagonist Judge Roy Bean and Gary
Cooper as a fictional interloper, reiterated the myth
of the town's naming for Lillie Langtry.
In 1956 Roy Bean hit
the TV airwaves and included many stars of the day such as Edgar
In 1972 the movies sparked interest with The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, starring Paul