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High Plains Drifter (1973)

R  |   |  Western  |  22 August 1973 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 33,371 users  
Reviews: 162 user | 70 critic

A gunfighting stranger comes to the small settlement of Lago and is hired to bring the townsfolk together in an attempt to hold off three outlaws who are on their way.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Callie Travers (as Mariana Hill)
Jack Ging ...
Ted Hartley ...
Stacey Bridges
Scott Walker ...
Bill Borders
Walter Barnes ...
Sheriff Sam Shaw
Asa Goodwin


A Stranger rides into in the dusty mining town of Lago, where the townspeople are living in the shadow of a dark secret. After a shootout leaves the town's hired-gun protectors dead, the town's leaders petition the Stranger to stay and protect them from three ruthless outlaws who are soon to be released from prison. The three have their sights set on returning to Lago to wreak havoc and take care of some unfinished business. A series of events soon has the townspeople questioning whether siding with the Stranger was a wise idea as they quickly learn the price that they each must pay for his services. As the outlaws make their way back into Lago, they discover that the town is not exactly as they had left it, and waiting in the shadows is the Stranger, ready to expose the town's secret and serve up his own brand of justice. Written by bob-oconnor1964

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They didn't know his face - They didn't know his name. But they'd never forget the day he drifted into town. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 August 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La venganza del muerto  »

Box Office


SEK 1,512,351 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Clint Eastwood wanted an offbeat look for High Plains Drifter (1973); not the conventional look of a Western. See more »


When the Stranger is first sipping his beer at the saloon, the bottle of whiskey is placed on the bar to the left of his glass of beer. When he reaches for his beer while saying the line "Faster than you'll ever live to be" to the one gunfighter, the bottle of whiskey "jumps" to the right of his glass of beer so he can pretend to draw his gun yet reach for the bottle of whiskey instead. See more »


[first lines]
The Stranger: Beer... and a bottle.
Lutie Naylor: Ain't much good, but it's all there is.
[brings drinks]
Lutie Naylor: You want anything else?
The Stranger: Just a peaceful hour to drink it in.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing shot of The Stranger disappearing into the heatwaves plays out over the end credits. See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Pod People (1991) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A superb western
17 April 2001 | by (Newcastle, England) – See all my reviews

As is often the case with a Clint Eastwood western, High Plains Drifter is rather good.

The usual scenario opens, with Eastwood (playing an unnamed character again) riding into a small mining town, Lagos, where a small group of thugs unsuccessfully try to kill him.

This small act serves as an introduction to the local townsfolk: small-minded cowards who are all talk and no action. They also bear a horrifying secret.

Eastwood is eventually approached to help them fend off an upcoming attack from three criminals who have just been released from prison.

He also suffers from a recurring nightmare, which I will leave to you to find out.

Needless to say, all of the pieces come together by the end, and those of you not astute enough to have noticed will be saying, "of course!"

A good story combines with Eastwood's anti-heroic personality (he never really played a good guy, did he?) and a good supporting cast to produce one of the best westerns of the 1970s. As the Maltin summary states: "Half-serious, half tongue-in-cheek, with great role for midget Billy Curtis."

Curtis plays Mortecai, the town dwarf, who shadows Eastwood around Lagos. Some of the scenes in this are extremely funny, but are balanced by some harshly violent moments, of which Eastwood's nightmares are a prime example.

1985's Pale Rider bears similarity to High Plains Drifter in certain areas, but you'll have to watch that yourself to find out where.

32 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The reason you're all arguing about the rape scene. leapgirl16
Painting the town red? jonathan1956
'It's what people know about themselves inside that makes them afraid.' Gonsaro
oh so its not rape? then why would she try to shoot him the next day! jme90
'High Plains Drifter' remake: what would they do differently? lou-114
Interpretation of a quote mrnoonmaths
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