The crash happened at around 12.25am on Saturday morning on Hemsworth Road, near to the junction of Water Lane.
It involved a silver Ford Focus and a silver Peugeot 306.
A 52-year-old man, from Pontefract, died at the scene.
Three other people were taken to hospital with serious life threatening injuries.
PS Carl Quinn, of the Major collision enquiry team, said: “We are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the collision or saw either vehicle beforehand to come forward to assist with our investigation.”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Major collision enquiry team via 101 quoting log number 56 of 18/06.