Nun Sara (Shirley MacLaine) is on the run in Mexico and is saved from cowboys by Hogan (Clint Eastwood), 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.
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.
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
The town of Lago was built three hundred miles away from Hollywood. A forty-six-man crew of technicians and ten laborers worked ten-hours a day for eighteen days constructing fourteen houses and a two-story hotel. They were burned down at this movie's completion. See more »
When The Stranger leaves the saloon, the whiskey bottle is in his right hand. The next shot shows him entering the barber shop with the bottle in his left hand. See more »
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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