Pale Rider (1985)


A prospector’s daughter has her prayers answered when a mysterious preacher with an uncanny knack for violence comes to town to defend her community from the ruthless land baron who threatens them.

Pale Rider drops the otherworldly elements of High Plains Drifter into the plot of Shane to create yet another enjoyable revenge western from Clint Eastwood. The format is very familiar but Clint brings his usual brand of steely eyed charisma to the screen, and it’s difficult not to cheer for the “little guy” when taking on the might of eminently hissable “Man” in the shape of an amusingly villainous Richard Dysart. Chris Penn is maybe a little too young and boyish to make a suitable bad guy but Richard “Jaws” Kiel puts in a memorable cameo as a hired thug and the tense final showdown with a satanic set of mercenary law men is really well executed.

Perhaps a little too generic to be considered one of his very best, but it’s still a finely crafted old school western with a supernatural slant.



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