Where a local plutocrat ends up dominating a small town and the lives of everyone in it
because he owns them too. You're only hope is to somehow recruit that stranger with the mysterious past, or, if you can find them, some mercenaries. Named for the chief antagonist in It's a Wonderful Life, Old Man Potter is the capitalist successor to the previous class of landed gentry that used to fill the same role. Naturally there are numerous examples that helped inspired the trope and made such fingers highly salient to everyday people. Often portrayed as a Patriarch (or Matriarch) of an extended family that can serve as their muscle, Old Man Potter often succeed in completely cowing the entire town into accepting their villainy, even in societies where one wouldn't expect it. Old Man Potter is always a Big Fish in a Small Pond, content to dominate their little fiefdom without much greater ambition. Often times they are able to get away with their crimes because nobody in the big city or state capitol notices what's going on out in the countryside. If a hero is unable to defeat Potter and his family by [[/Road House kicking]], most times just getting word out will be enough to summon The Cavalry. While once popular in all forms of media, Old Man Potter is on his way to becoming a Discredited Trope, at least in the developed world. corrupt executives working for National, Multi-National or Megacorporations have stepped in to take their place as the Real Life local businesses that once influenced small town life have been bought up by larger and larger players whose wealthy owners don't even bother to live near the communities they are destroying. Modern implementation of Aristocrats Are Evil. Compare with Corrupt Corporate Executive.