A new magistrate (played by Koji Yakusho) in the town of Horisoto—widely reputed to be the most lawless township in Japan, uses guile and his opponents' own misperceptions and prejudices to defeat his enemies and uproot corruption.
The film was planned and written by the Yonki-no-kai, a group of four of Japan's most notable directors: Kon Ichikawa, Masaki Kobayashi, Keisuke Kinoshita, and Akira Kurosawa in 1969. Financial losses of a previous film in 1970 meant that funds were not available for filming Dora-heita.
Many years later, after the deaths of the other three partners, Ichikawa was able to produce the film. The film includes cinematography by Yukio Isohata and a musical score by Kensaku Tanikawa.
The film was screened at the Berlin Film Festival in 2000 and the Japanese FIlm Festival.