is a 1985 Western
film produced and directed
by, and starring Clint Eastwood
movie has plot similarities to the classic Western Shane
including a final scene that shares similarities to the famous
ending of Shane
. The film also bears similarities to
Eastwood's previous Man with No
character, and his 1973
western High Plains
. The title is a reference to the Four Horsemen of the
, as the rider of a pale horse is Death
Rider was primarily filmed in the Boulder Mountains and the
SNRA in central Idaho, just north
Valley in late 1984.
opening credits scene featured the jagged Sawtooth Mountains south of Stanley.
Train-station scenes were filmed in
Tuolumne County, California, near Jamestown. Scenes of a more
established Gold Rush town (in which Eastwood's character picks up
his pistol at a Wells Fargo office) were filmed in the real Gold
Rush town of Columbia, also in Tuolumne County, California. The
film also featured Michael
, Carrie Snodgress
, Richard Dysart
, Sydney Penny
, Doug McGrath and John
is the only Eastwood film to have clear
religious overtones throughout - though several of his other films
such as High Plains Drifter
also make heavy use of
spiritual and supernatural ideas and imagery.
The plot centers on the conflict between a group of simple, poor,
and the most powerful
man in the nearby town, Coy LaHood (Richard Dysart
), the boss of a successful
outfit, that wants
to take over their land. The film opens with the ruffians of LaHood
riding into the panner's camp, shooting things up and pulling down
tents and cabins. Soon after, one of the panners heads into town
for supplies, and is set upon by the same ruffians. A drifter
) rides in and defends
the miner with unexpected skill wielding a hickory axe handle. Upon
returning to the placers camp, the drifter compounds this surprise
by revealing a minister's collar when invited to dinner, thus
acquiring the name "Preacher".
A classic western story line develops, leading to a final showdown
in town between a corrupt U.S. Marshal named Stockburn and his
"deputies" and Preacher.
Clint Eastwood as "Preacher"
In an audio interview, Clint Eastwood revealed that his character
"is an out-and-out ghost".
The film was entered into the 1985 Cannes Film Festival
Pale Rider received highly positive reviews and currently holds a
91% on Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert gave the film a four out of