–John Baxter to Joe.
Sheriff John Baxter is a major character featured in A Fistful of Dollars. He is the Sheriff of the Mexican border town San Miguel, and the leader of a notorious gang of weapons smugglers. He is the husband of Consuelo Baxter and father of Antonio Baxter.
Nothing is known of John's early life. He was likely born in the southern United States and possibly worked as a lawman in his youth. At some point, he turned to a life of crime and led illegal operations to smuggle weapons from Mexico into the United States. He based his operations out of the small border town of San Miguel, and soon came into conflict with Don Miguel Rojo and his brothers, the leaders of another gang of smugglers.
After the mysterious stranger arrives in town, he learns of the feud between the Baxters and Rojos from Silvanito, the local cantina owner. The Stranger approaches the Rojo family compound and shouts to Don Miguel his intention to be hired by them, before crossing the street to confront a foursome of Baxter gunmen. The gangsters had harassed Joe upon his arrival and refuse to apologise to his mule, resulting in a gunfight in which the Stranger quickly cuts down all four men. John Baxter emerges from his house alongside his son and attempts to threaten the Stranger, but he simply walks away.
Later, after Ramón Rojo leads a gang of bandits in a massacre of Mexican soldiers along the Rio Bravo, the Stranger collects two corpses and stages them at the local cemetery. After informing both the Rojos and the Baxters of the alleged "survivors" nearby, he collects rewards from both parties while they rush off to confront each other. Baxter hopes that the two men will be able to testify against the Rojo brothers and finally rid the region of their gang, making Baxter the town's only leader. Unfortunately, the gunfight turns in the favour of the Rojo brothers, who manage to shoot both of the staged corpses and capture Antonio, taking him hostage at their hacienda.
Meanwhile, the Stranger has used the absence of armed thugs to break into the Rojo family compound in search of more money. He is surprised by Marisol, a young woman held captive by Ramón, and accidentally knocks her unconscious. He decides to take her to Consuelo Baxter, who again pays the bounty hunter another reward. Ramón is distraught at the loss of Marisol, and arranges to exchange her for Antonio the very next day. However, when Marisol's young son Jesús rushes out to embrace her, he learns from Silvanito that she is held captive by Ramón from her husband Julio and their child. Empathising with the young woman, the Stranger breaks into the safe-house on the outskirts of town where she is being held and guns down the men responsible for guarding her. He reunites Marisol with Julio and their son, and provides them with the money he has recently earned from the Baxter and Rojo families before telling them to flee to the United States.
The Rojo brothers are enraged at the betrayal and capture Joe, subjecting him to a brutal interrogation. He manages to escape, however, and believing the Baxters to have assisted him, they set fire to the Baxter family house and gun down any person attempting to flee the flames. When John and Antonio emerge, he begs for his life and exclaims that he and his family will pack their things and leave that very night. Unimpressed, the Rojo brothers gun father and son down side-by-side, to the horror of Consuelo, who curses the brothers before being shot by Esteban Rojo.
|Characters in A Fistful of Dollars|
|The Baxters and associates||Antonio Baxter · Consuela Baxter · John Baxter|
|The Rojos and associates||Alvaro · Chico · Esteban Rojo · Fausto · Manolo · Martín · Miguel · Miguel Rojo · Paco · Paquito · Ramón Rojo · Rubio · Vincente|
|San Miguel residents||Jesus · Juan de Dios · Julio · Marisol · Piripero · Silvanito|