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"All I hear from you, you spineless cowards, is how poor you are; how you can't afford my taxes, my protection. Yet somehow, you all managed to find the money to hire a professional gunfighter to kill me. Where's all this money coming from? What am I to think? If ya got so much to spare, I'm just gonna have to take some more off ya. Because clearly some of you haven't got the message! This is my town! If you live to see the dawn, it's because I allow it! I'm in charge of everything! I decide who lives or who dies!"

Someone who holds disproportionate power over an area, by way of wealth or political connection. Could be a government official, a criminal or just a rich guy, but for all intents and purposes they own the town. Frequently, but it should be noted, not always a villain or antagonist character.

See also Feudal Overlord and Corrupt Hick, as well as Screw the Rules, I Have Money

Examples of I Own This Town include:

Comic Books


  • Carmine Falcone in Batman Begins. He makes a point of showing Bruce all the cops and government officials in the bar that would do nothing if he shot him.
  • Subverted in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: Auntie (Tina Turner's character) initially appears to be the uncontested ruler of Bartertown, but Master/Blaster declares a short embargo on supplying methane to the town to drive home the point that they are the true force to be reckoned with.
  • Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars are based on what happens when there are two of these guys.
  • Brad Wesley in Road House.
  • The character translated as Mayor in Gogol's The Inspector General (a 1949 film based on an 1842 play written by Nikolai Gogol), who is a powerful Corrupt Hick with more powers than a mayor would be thought of as having. This makes it Older Than Radio.
  • John Herod of The Quick and the Dead provides the page quote.
  • Training Day has Alonzo Harris, a Corrupt Cop who regards the portion of L.A. known as The Jungle this way.
  • The Big Bad of the film Walking Tall declares it to Dwayne Johnson during their final confrontation: "This is MY town!"
  • In the 1989 Batman movie, Boss Carl Grissom runs Gotham City's underworld, which is so powerful that right-hand man Jack Napier comments that he couldn't run the town without his help.


Live Action TV

  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Boss Hogg is Hazzard County commisioner, but he acts more like Hazzard is his personal fiefdom. The only other local authority figures we meet are the sheriff and his deputies, all of whom are in Hogg's pocket. No one ever runs against him for commissioner (or against Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane for sheriff).
  • In the Leverage episode "The Bank Shot Job", the villain is a corrupt judge who effectively owns a small town in the California desert.
  • The twisted Adult Swim miniseries The Heart She Holler concerns the town of "HeartShe Holler" and its dead autocrat mayor, and his feral son (who becomes mayor as his inheritance). The dead father continues to manipulate the town through a series of eerily accurate pre-taped messages.
  • In Once Upon a Time, Rumplestitzkin (aka Mr. Gold) is clearly stated to own the town of Storybrooke and all its inhabitants through a cross of Batman Gambits and elaborate deals. Even the Evil Queen-turned-Mayor is in his back pocket.
  • Mayor Wilkins on Buffy the Vampire Slayer has quite few Sunnydale people in his pocket, both human and nonhuman. He founded the town and was in the middle of a lot of the goings on before he was killed off.


Video Games

  • President Shinra of Shinra Corporation in Final Fantasy VII pretty much owns Midgar. So much that he's turned the actual mayor's office into a powerless one.
  • In Fallout 3, there's the Republic of Dave, where Dave is always elected president.
    • In the Fallout series in general, this is the most common form of government when there's a government at all: the strongest local authority sets the rules and maintains order, often without any formal title beyond "mayor" or "sheriff," and sometimes not even that. Mr. House from Fallout: New Vegas is probably the purest example, ruling New Vegas with the power vested in him by a whole bunch of robots armed with machine guns.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Aria T'Loak doesn't own Omega; she is Omega.
  • In Deus Ex Human Revolution, David Sarif essentially owns most of the public institutions in Detroit, to the point where a call from him can delay an entire SWAT team's assault on one of his buildings even when hostages are being killed. However, later on his clout seems to not be as big as he thought, as he cannot get access to the body of a hacker who attacked one of his buildings because Homeland Security (under Director Joseph Manderly) placed a lockdown on the police station whose morgue is holding the body.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, we have Maven Black-Briar of Riften, and Thongar Silver-Blood of Markarth. Maven ends up as Jarl if you're pro-Imperial, and likewise for Thongar if you're Stormcloak. Though, the Silver-Bloods' grip weakens somewhat if certain quests are taken in Markarth.


  • Parodied in Homestuck's Intermission. Spades Slick says he made the town that the Intermission takes place in. It's revealed that this was quite literal.

Western Animation

  • In the pilot for Superman the Animated Series, Lex Luthor tells Superman, "I own Metropolis. My technology built it, my will keeps it going, and nearly two-thirds of its people work for me whether they know it or not." Indeed, Lex continues to avoid paying for his crimes. It's not until the second season of Justice League that Superman finally takes him down.
  • Batman the Animated Series had a somewhat unusual treatment of this trope in one episode: at the start of the episode a young Delinquent is seen proclaiming how he'll someday he'll own Gotham City. Most of the rest of the episode takes place in the present, where said delinquent is Arnold Stromwell, The Don who long held Gotham under his sway but whose family life and criminal empire are collapsing and is losing a round of Mob War with Rupert Thorne.
  • Hurricanes: Stavros Garkos rules the Island of Garkos and has his brother enforce his rules.
  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer: In a more benevolent example, Austin Bucks, the richest man in Cityville, owns almost all businesses there but never does anything unethical to reach his goals.