Road House is a 1989 action film directed by Rowdy Herrington and starring Patrick Swayze as a bouncer at a newly-refurbished roadside barwho protects a small town in Missouri from a corrupt businessman. Sam Elliott also plays a bouncer, the mentor, friend and foil of Swayze's character. The cast also includes Kelly Lynch as Swayze's love interest, and Ben Gazzara as the main antagonist.
James Dalton (Patrick Swayze) is a professional "cooler" (i.e. specialized doorman, or bouncer) with a mysterious past who is enticed from his current job in New York City by club owner Frank Tilghman (Kevin Tighe) to take over security at his club/bar, the Double Deuce, in Jasper, Missouri. Tilghman plans to invest substantial money into the club, to enhance its image, and needs a first-rate cooler to maintain stability.
Arriving in Jasper, and searching for a place to stay, Dalton eventually takes lodging at a local farm. He attracts attention driving his Mercedes Benz SEC560 and having a quiet demeanor—contrasting with the tough locals. Dalton is soon introduced to local business magnate (and next door neighbor) Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara). Wesley appears to have a stranglehold on the town; and little happens without his knowledge and approval. In the course of cleaning up the violent nightclub, Dalton dismisses several unruly and corrupt employees, some of whom are connected with Wesley. After one particularly violent night where Dalton is forced to physically remove Wesley's henchmen from the club, he suffers a knife wound. Upon going to the hospital for stitches, he strikes up a friendship with Dr. Elizabeth "Doc" Clay (Kelly Lynch) which leads into a romantic relationship.
Wesley summons Dalton to his home in a seemingly innocent attempt to make peace, but has an ulterior motive: Wesley would like Dalton to work for him once he extorts Tilghman's club. When Dalton declines, Wesley begins an assault on Dalton's friends, including interfering with liquor deliveries to the Double Deuce. Dalton's mentor, legendary but aging cooler Wade Garrett (Sam Elliott), arrives in town after a disconcerting phone call from Dalton and helps him defend a liquor shipment from Wesley's thugs.
That evening, local business owner Red Webster's (Red West) auto parts store is destroyed by a fire after he refuses to give ground to Wesley's persistent extortion demands. Dalton, not wanting to exacerbate matters, allows Wesley and his men entrance to the club that night. The next day, car dealership owner Pete Stroudenmire becomes Wesley's next victim when he also rebuffs Wesley. As a result, Wesley has one of his thugs, Gary Ketchum, demolish the structure with his monster truck (BIGFOOT #7) as Dalton and his friends look on with contempt.
That night, Doc visits Dalton and attempts to persuade him to leave. However, their conversation is interrupted by a powerful explosion. Dalton rescues Emmett from the blaze before the house is completely destroyed. He then witnesses one of Wesley's henchmen, Jimmy (Marshall Teague), fleeing the scene, and manages to intercept him. After a vicious fight, Dalton kills Jimmy by ripping out his throat with his bare hand. The next morning, Dalton receives an ominous phone call from Wesley, who vows to have either Wade or Doc killed. At that moment, Wade staggers into the Double Deuce, badly beaten but alive. Believing Doc to be in danger, Dalton races to the hospital, but she refuses to leave with him, repulsed by his increasingly violent nature. Upon returning to the Double Deuce, Dalton finds Wade sprawled out on the bar with a knife lodged in his chest. Fighting back tears, an enraged Dalton pulls the knife free and jumps into his car, determined to settle the score with Wesley.
Dalton's Mercedes speeds recklessly toward Wesley's estate, drawing gunfire from Wesley's henchmen, but they discover the car empty, and the knife that was used to kill Wade stuck in the accelerator. One by one, Dalton dispatches each of Wesley's thugs, and eventually comes face-to-face with Wesley. Dalton gains the upper hand in their fight and prepares to finish Wesley in the same brutal manner as Jimmy, but decides against it. When Dalton releases him, Wesley seizes the opportunity to reach for a gun, but is promptly shot to death by Red, Emmett, Stroudenmire, and Tilghman. They stash the weapons away prior to the arrival of law enforcement and proceed to corroborate each others' innocence, with the implication that what happened in Wesley's house will remain a secret.