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In a French colonial town in West Africa of 1938, Lucien Cordier is the police chief, a likeable slob who turns a blind eye to all the corruption that surrounds him. Everyone regards him as a harmless buffoon, but he seems not to care. He doesn’t even mind that his wife is having an affair with another man, who lives under his very roof. He has his own mistress and, so long as the criminals leave him alone, he is content. Then, one day, a military man named Chavasson shows him the error of his ways by publicly humiliating him. Cordier suddenly sees things in a whole new light and decides that he must take his job a little more seriously. That night, he meets up with the two men who run the town’s brothel and shoots them dead in cold blood. A short time later, he murders his mistress’s bullying husband. As the corpses pile up around him, Cordier finally acquires a sense of job satisfaction...