A gun-fighting 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.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writer:

Ernest Tidyman
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... The Stranger
Verna Bloom ... Sarah Belding
Marianna Hill ... Callie Travers (as Mariana Hill)
Mitchell Ryan ... Dave Drake
Jack Ging ... Morgan Allen
Stefan Gierasch ... Mayor Jason Hobart
Ted Hartley ... Lewis Belding
Billy Curtis ... Mordecai
Geoffrey Lewis ... Stacey Bridges
Scott Walker ... Bill Borders
Walter Barnes ... Sheriff Sam Shaw
Paul Brinegar ... Lutie Naylor
Richard Bull ... Asa Goodwin
Robert Donner ... Preacher
John Hillerman ... Bootmaker
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Storyline

A Stranger (Clint Eastwood) rides into in the dusty mining town of Lago, where the townspeople are living in the shadow of a dark secret. After a shoot-out 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

Taglines:

They'd never forget the day he drifted into town. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Western

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Any holes in the plot were filled with black humor and allegory to Sergio Leone. Eastwood thought the allegory of this movie was "a speculation on what happens when they go ahead and kill the Sheriff and someone comes back and calls the town's conscience to bear. There's always retribution for your deeds." See more »

Goofs

On a porch outside a saloon Clint is hold half a glass of beer, threatens a man behind him, lifts his glass which is now full. Has a couple of mouthfuls , shows his prowess with the gun, lifts his glass and it's full again. See more »

Quotes

[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.
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Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure an 'X' rating. All cuts were waived in 1987 when the film was granted an '18' certificate for home video. See more »

User Reviews

 
A superb western
17 April 2001 | by luciferSee 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.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 April 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

High Plains Drifter See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$15,700,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,706,540
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Company Credits

Production Co:

The Malpaso Company See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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