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High Plains Drifter (1973)

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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.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writer:

Ernest Tidyman
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2,968 ( 137)

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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 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 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

Taglines:

Aim to see it! See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Western

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 August 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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Malpaso Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actors Geoffrey Lewis, Walter Barnes and Dan Vadis would all work with Clint Eastwood in the "Which Way" comedies and Bronco Billy (1980). See more »

Goofs

Mordecai wears crossed bandoliers filled with .45-70 rifle rounds. Close up shots show these to be loaded with Jacketed Soft Point bullets, which were not available until the 20th century. 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.
See more »

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Projected Man (1998) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
12th Review: Deconstructing the Western
20 December 2006 | by inteleartsSee all my reviews

High Plains Drifter looks and feels like a deconstruction of the language of the Western.

A brilliant mix of psychological and macabre, and in places even quite bizarre, it is an investigation of what is created when weakness and desire meet the man driven half to madness (Eastwood) yet seems sane: he is pathological, but is he the only standard of true sanity as a protagonist here? Has he truly lost all sense of ethic?

He starts here as the archetype of antiutilitariansim: nothing he does is for anyone's benefit if it costs him a moment of care. He is cold, brutal, effective. Yet behind this there is a sense that he has a twisted right on his side. Having being so wronged his revenge is more complex than simply killing: it demands retribution, and retribution demands the whole town pays.

More existential than even Once upon A time in the West, or, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly it is about the nihilism and the circle of violence that must be closed.

The filming is supremely confident for a second film: real silences and pauses, laugh out loud lines and situations and cold, cold chills: the language of film is expressed explicitly and implicitly. This is the death knell of the Good vs. Bad traditional Western: it is more like Kurosawa's Yojimbo though here the bad guys are few and the townsfolk are by implication as guilty as the rest because they let evil thrive and let it break a good man.

Never answering it's own questions: like Lago itself it is a world created in isolation and as such is a unique and powerful testament to Eastwood's continuing expression of the darker psyche of the cost of opening up the cowboy image and getting to a colder, starker, realism that defined 70s films.

Compulsive viewing and an important film.


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