Langtry, Texas

Langtry, Texas
Unincorporated community
Main Street in Langtry
Main Street in Langtry
Langtry, Texas is located in Texas
Langtry, Texas
Langtry, Texas
Location within Texas
Coordinates: 29°48′31″N 101°33′31″W / 29.80861°N 101.55861°W / 29.80861; -101.55861Coordinates: 29°48′31″N 101°33′31″W / 29.80861°N 101.55861°W / 29.80861; -101.55861
Country United States
State Texas
County Val Verde
1,289 ft (393 m)
 • Total 12
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code Area code 830
GNIS feature ID 1377171, 2034106

Langtry is an unincorporated community in Val Verde County, Texas, United States. The community is notable as the place where Judge Roy Bean, the "Law West of the Pecos", had his saloon and practiced law.


Langtry was originally established in 1882 by the Southern Pacific Railroad as a grading camp called Eagle Nest. It was later renamed for George Langtry, an engineer and foreman, who supervised the immigrant Chinese work crews building the railroad in the area.

Roy Bean arrived soon after completion of the railroad, and set up a tent saloon on company land. He later built a wooden structure for his saloon, which he called The Jersey Lilly after the well-known British actress Lillie Langtry. She was a native of the island of Jersey. (Née Le Breton, Langtry was her married name, and she was not related to George Langtry.) Bean used the saloon as his headquarters when authorized as a justice of the peace and notary public. He called himself the "Law West of the Pecos". After a notable career as justice of the peace, Bean died in 1903.

In 1884, the town was authorized a post office. In 1892, it had a general store, a railroad depot, and two saloons. Langtry began to decline after the highway was moved slightly north in the early 1900s for a more direct east-west route. Once bypassed, the town's businesses lost revenue and jobs. In the 1920s, Southern Pacific moved its facilities away, more jobs were lost, and the town population dwindled to 50.

By the 1970s, its population dipped as low as 40. Tourism to the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center continues to keep the town alive.

Popular culture

  • The Westerner (1940) is a film featuring Walter Brennan as Judge Roy Bean and Gary Cooper as a fictional interloper. It repeated the myth of the town's being named for Lillie Langtry.
  • Lillie (1978), a TV miniseries about Lillie Langtry, was produced by Britain's London Weekend Television, also related the myth of the Texas town's name.
  • Judge Roy Bean (1955–1956), a Western television series set in Langtry, but filmed in Pioneertown, California, aired in syndication with Edgar Buchanan in the title role.[1]
  • The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), a film set in Langtry and starring Paul Newman, sparked new interest in Texas history.
  • Roy Bean appears as a main character in Le Juge, part of the Lucky Luke series.
  • The Other Roswell: UFO Crash on the Texas-Mexico Border (2008) is a nonfiction book about a reported UFO crash at Langtry in 1955.
  • The town plays a major role in R.A. Lafferty's science-fiction novel Fourth Mansions.
  • Langtry is mentioned in the Cormac McCarthy novel No Country for Old Men. Langtry could be the hometown of the novel's protagonist Llewelyn Moss.
  • Langtry and the surrounding area have long been favorite hunting grounds for legions of amateur and professional herpetologists looking for a variety of reptiles endemic to the area.
  • The episode "A Picture of a Lady" in the Western series Death Valley Days depicts Judge Roy Bean renaming the Texas town of Vinegaroon as Langtry in honor of Lillie Langtry.
  • Langtry inspired the fictional town of Langtree in the video game Wandersong.[2]


Langtry has a hot semiarid (BSh) climate.



  1. ^ Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), pp. 109-110
  2. ^

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