The story is set in early winter and then spring, during the antebellum era of the Deep South with preliminary scenes taking place in Old West Texas. The film follows an African-American slave (Foxx), and an English-speaking, German bounty hunter posing as a traveling dentist (Waltz), named Dr. Schultz.
In exchange for helping Schultz collect a large bounty on three outlaws (hiding-in-plain-sight in the south, working in the slave trade) that he has never seen – but Django has, while being trafficked – Schultz buys and then promises to free Django after they catch the outlaws the following spring. Schultz subsequently promises to teach Django bounty hunting, and split the bounties with him, if Django assists him in hunting down other outlaws throughout the winter. Django agrees – on the condition that they also locate and free his long-lost wife (Washington) from her cruel plantation owner (DiCaprio).
Tarantino won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (his second such Oscar since his 1995 win for co-writing Pulp Fiction), as well as the Golden Globe, and the BAFTA. The film grossed over $425 million worldwide in theaters against its $100 million budget, making it Tarantino's highest-grossing theatrical release to date.