In 1858, Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave, is chained to a bunch of other slaves and being marched to his new owner's estate in Texas by the Speck brothers. At nightfall, a German man in a dentist cart pulls up and hails the Speck brothers. He introduces himself as Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz).
Schultz is clearly more intelligent and enlightened than the Specks. He says he is looking for a slave who can identify a band of wanted fugitives known as the Brittle brothers. Django announces that he knows the Brittle brothers and can identify them. Schultz offers to buy Django, but his polite and educated manner rubs the ill-mannered Specks the wrong way, and Ace Speck threatens to shoot him with his shotgun. In response, Schultz lowers his lantern, whips out a revolver, and shoots Ace, then Dicky's horse, causing Dicky to fall off his horse. The horse carcass then lands on and crushes Dicky's leg, leaving him screaming in pain. Crippled, he agrees to sell Django, and Schultz pays the man (for both Django, and the dead Speck's horse), gets an official title to Django, and prepares to ride off.
Before Schultz leaves, however, he frees the remaining slaves (clearly, Schultz finds slavery abhorrent) and says that they may either carry the remaining Speck brother back to town, or shoot him and flee. As Django and Schultz ride off, we hear Speck pleading for his life. We hear a gunshot and can see blood splatter as Dicky's brains are blown out.
Django and Schultz arrive in the small town of Daughtrey near El Paso. As they travel through the streets, townspeople stop to stare in disbelief at the sight of a nigger on a horse, much to Schultz's confusion. As Schultz ties his cart down at a hitching post, he checks some papers to make sure he's in the right place. The two then walk into a saloon despite the fact that Django is forbidden from doing so because he is black due to the South's segregation laws. When Schultz insists on being served, the barkeep runs out...