Pale Rider

Watch Pale Rider

"...and hell followed with him."
  • R
  • 1985
  • 1 hr 56 min
  • 7.3  (64,113)
  • 61

In the 1985 classic western film Pale Rider, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, we are transported to the fictional mining town of LaHood, California in the 19th century. The movie begins with the arrival of a mysterious stranger, who undoubtedly draws the attention of both the townsfolk and the powerful LaHood family, who exploit their riches and threaten the rights of the miners. The stranger has a knack for incredible accuracy with a gun and a cool, enigmatic presence that makes him an enigma to everyone around him. There is a palpable tension between the newcomer and local sheriff Stockburn, played by John Russell, who seems intent on maintaining the status quo and keeping the peace for the benefit of the wealthy miners. The stranger takes a particular interest in the miners as they stand to be exploited by the greedy capitalists that run the town.

We soon learn that the stranger, unbeknownst to the other characters, is in fact a preacher on a mission to help the people of LaHood, his past shrouded in mystery yet hinted at through his scars and his ability to shoot a gun with almost superhuman precision. After witnessing the LaHood family's brutal tactics against the townsfolk, the stranger cannot hold back any longer, and he publicly challenges the ruthless tycoon Coy LaHood, played by Richard Dysart, to a showdown to secure the rightful ownership of their land. In doing so, he becomes a figure of hope and protection for the people of the town.

As the plot progresses, we see our hero struggling with his dual roles as a man of God and a man of violence, trying to reconcile his past with the present. His relationship with the miners and their beautiful young daughter Megan, played by Sydney Penny, adds an emotional complexity to the story and further deepens the character. Simultaneously, the stranger's murky past catches up with him, and he must face danger head-on, risking everything for the people he has come to protect.

One of the great things about this film is it's unapologetic commitment to the traditional western genre tropes while still offering compelling performances from a talented cast. The cinematography, courtesy of Bruce Surtees, immerses us in the dusty, sun-baked world, and the evocative score by Lennie Niehaus creates an atmosphere of tension and danger, helping to heighten the film's dramatic impact. Eastwood, in his usual style, gives a nuanced yet iconic performance, a man of few words but unforgettable presence. He delivers classic one-liners such as "I'm a preacher, not a saint," with a level of cool that can only be achieved by an actor of his caliber. Michael Moriarty, playing the role of Hull Barrett, the leader of the miners, delivers a heartfelt and vulnerable performance, while Carrie Snodgress, playing the innkeeper Sarah Wheeler, adds a fierce intelligence and independent spirit to the story.

Pale Rider is one of the most exceptional westerns of the 1980s, a testament to the enduring popularity of the genre and a showcase of Clint Eastwood's talent as both an actor and director. It's a timeless tale of good versus evil, hope versus despair, and one man's journey to redemption. Even today, it still manages to engage audiences with its compelling characters, thrilling story, and masterful filmmaking.

In conclusion, Pale Rider is a movie that manages to be both entertaining and thought-provoking, a masterful piece of cinema that speaks to the human spirit's resilience, and one that any fan of the western genre should add to their must-see list.

Pale Rider is a 1985 western with a runtime of 1 hour and 56 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3 and a MetaScore of 61.

Pale Rider
Where to Watch Pale Rider
Pale Rider is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Pale Rider for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 56 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (64,113)
  • Metascore