Johnny Depp is William Blake, who we first see riding the train from Cleveland, Ohio to the western frontier town of Machine. The movie is shot entirely in black and white, set at an unspecified time in the mid- to late nineteenth century. Blake is a mild-mannered accountant, promised a job at the metal works in Machine. But on arrival, he finds they hired someone else in the two months it's taken him to get there, and he's now jobless and penniless in the West. He quickly runs afoul of the locals and gets shot, then finds himself riding in the wilderness with an Indian named Nobody (Gary Fisher), pursued (although he doesn't know it) by three bounty hunters.
But this is directed by Jim Jarmusch: it's not a standard Western. "Nobody" keeps spouting nonsensical statements - even as Blake tells him they make no sense. Blake's condition worsens. The whole thing is surreal, each scene surrounded by Jarmusch's over-and-over fade-to-black. And then there's the music: Neil Young's intrusive, loud, and very irritating electric guitar soundtrack feels totally out of place - he hasn't done a soundtrack since, and that's a GOOD THING (TM). Aside from the soundtrack it was at least interesting.