William “Bayou Billy” McCall is an infamous outlaw who dies ignominiously at a very old age. He leaves behind a mixed history of anti-heroism and unethical immorality in the form of legends and tall tales. The two towns in which Bayou Billy simultaneously lived, Sawdust City, Texas, and Albie, Louisiana, immediately begin to bicker over which one will get to bury the notorious criminal and thus achieve the prominence that goes with the burial.
Pascal Waterford, the mayor of Sawdust City and a die-hard alcoholic, is cheered by Bayou Billy’s death. He knows that Billy has previously promised his body to Sawdust City in exchange for free utilities. The gain of a tourism attraction in the form of a famous felon’s gravesite will save Sawdust City from economic ruin and salve Pascal’s scruples.
Ophelia Rector, a prominent citizen of Albie and owner of the local mortuary, knows of Billy’s similar promise to the mayor of Albie for cessation of taxes and complimentary utilities. Her loving pet project is the restoration of Albie’s cemetery and the promotion of the same into a grand memorial park. Her need for control over Bayou Billy’s cadaver is obsession personified. Both Pascal and Ophelia will fight to the bitter end to discover how low each can sink in their efforts to obtain the rotting corpse of a dislikeable man whose fame is more prestigious than the man himself.