That man, played by Samuel L Jackson, is Major Marquis Warren, a bounty hunter whose horse has died as he is on the way to claim the reward on the frozen corpses. The passengers are another bounty hunter, John Ruth, played by Kurt Russell, and Daisy Domergue, who he is taking to the hangman.
Down the track they encounter a buffoonish character, played by Chris Mannix, who claims to be the new sheriff and the person who will be arranging the hanging and paying the bounties.
The weather makes reaching the town impossible, and they shelter in Minnie's haberdashery, though Minnie is not in evidence. Already at the haberdashery are – a hangman (verbose in an upmarket English accent), a Mexican, looking after the shack for Minnie, a cattleman allegedly on his way to see his mother, and a former Confederate general with a history of homicidal racism.
For ninety minutes or so the movie sets the scene, and, after the stagecoach episode, most of the interaction takes place in Minnie's haberdashery, to a background of a roaring storm, while snow swirls into the room through gaps in the walls.
Clearly there are hidden agendas, smouldering resentments, and potential violence.
Scripting shows Tarantino's gift for language, and the skills of a cast with no weak link. There is the claustrophobic tension of an Agatha Christie house party plot without any sense that what is about to happen will be genteel.
Nor is it.
It is hardly a spoiler to note that once again Tarantino pushes the boundaries of how to portray violence – not for him the anodyne Western where people are shot with no visible marks. Audience reactions varied from shocked nervous laughter to sounds of revulsion to shocked silence, but he had our complete attention. For three hours or so the master filmmaker enthrals, repulses and engages us. Assisted by a superb Ennio Morricone score, innumerable plot twists and turns, and a stellar cast this is an unforgettable movie.
Apparently Tarantino, not over burdened by false modesty, is predicting Oscars for acting, scripting, cinematography, and music.