A hard but mediocre cop is assigned to escort a prostitute into custody from Las Vegas to Phoenix, so that she can testify in a mob trial. But a lot of people are literally betting that they won't make it into town alive.
Nun Sara is on the run in Mexico and is saved from cowboys by Hogan, who is preparing for a future mission to capture a French fort. The pair become good friends, but Sara never does tell him the true reason behind her being outlawed.
Josey Wales makes his way west after the Civil War, determined to live a useful and helpful life. He joins up with a group of settlers who need the protection that a man as tough and experienced as he is can provide. Unfortunately, the past has a way of catching up with you, and Josey is a wanted man. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
Certainly Clint Eastwood's best complete movie, the story of a man drawn into hell by the inhumanity of others (specifically, the Redlegs and the Senator), who is redeemed by the humanity of others (the settlers, Lone Wattie and Ten Bears) to recover some semblance of a life after the Civil War. Eastwood's acting is economical (but a far cry from the man-with-no-name character he made famous), and carries the story very well, and his directing style is practically invisible (which is exactly what it should be -- if the director does his job, you should never even notice his contribution). The viewer is entirely caught up in the story of the man. All in all, a brilliant bit of film from Eastwood (who clearly learned everything he could from his own directors, and then combined that knowledge into superb craftsmanship of his own.)
It is interesting to contrast the Jose Wales and Billy Munny (from Unforgiven) characters. Wales seeks to regain his humanity through others; Munny - having regained his humanity from being a Wales-like character at the beginning of the movie - descends willingly into a hell of his own choosing.
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