A gang of ruffians ride into a small town and scare some folksy gold miners. During the fracas, a little girl’s dog gets gunned down by one of the no-good sons-a-bitches. The chick then asks God for revenge and The Almighty sends her Clint Eastwood.
Now that’s what I call service!
Clint plays “The Preacher”. He goes around acting pious and wearing a white collar, but when push comes to shove he’ll gun you down quicker than you can spit. He sides with the poor miners and protects them against the banker villain (Richard Dysart) and his hired thugs.
Pale Rider is kinda like a lightweight companion piece to the vastly superior High Plains Drifter. As with that film, Clint is a gunfighter that is possibly a ghost that possesses seemingly supernatural powers. For instance, in the finale he appears to have the ability to be everywhere at once (kinda like Jason) while gunning down the bad guys.
Even though the film is a “Pale” imitation of High Plains Drifter, there was a sturdy enough foundation here to make a great western. Eastwood unfortunately dropped the ball in that department. His pacing is overly lackadaisical and the irritating miners get more screen time than The Preacher. Although the final shootout has it’s fair share of head shots and bloodshed; overall the flick had way too many lulls in between the gunfights to be truly worthwhile.
I guess it’s OK that Clint the director made a few missteps because Clint the actor is pretty awesome in this flick. He gets a great stick fighting scene early in the picture that would look right at home in a Kung Fu movie. The highlight of the flick comes when Clint takes a sledgehammer to Richard (Moonraker)