Top positive review
84 of 89 people found this helpful
"Nothing like a good piece of hickory!"
on July 12, 2005
The Gold Rush in nineteenth-century California attracted all types of people seeking their fortunes. Some would settle in small mining encampments where each had their claims to search for the precious ore, but greed could encourage some to try and drive people away from their claims. Such was the setting for the 1985 film "Pale Rider", which was directed by Clint Eastwood. Located a few miles from a small town, a mining encampment includes the hard-working Hull Barrett (Michael Moriarty), a woman that he's been living with named Sarah Wheeler (Carrie Snodgrass) and her teenaged daughter Megan Wheeler (Sydney Penny). Frustrated with rising bills at the nearby country store and a greedy & wealthy man named Coy LaHood (Richard A. Dysart) who is trying to drive away the miners, Hull and Sarah's relationship is somewhat strained. After Megan prays for assistance and is reading a verse in the Book of Revelation that states "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death" (Rev. 6:8), she sees a man riding a pale horse approaching. The rider comes to be known only as "The Preacher" (Clint Eastwood) and after helping Hull out of a skirmish with some of LaHood's men, Hull invites the Preacher to stay with him, Sarah and Megan. It isn't before long that the Preacher begins to give the miners at Hull's encampment courage to stand up to LaHood and to work together. LaHood, of course, is furious that a preacher is helping them because he wants their land so that he can use his very destructive hydraulic mining technology to strip the land of whatever gold may be there. When LaHood can't buy the Preacher out of the encampment, he resorts to hiring a "marshal" of sorts named Stockburn (John Russell, 1921-1991) and his "deputies" to get rid of the Preacher. LaHood, however, doesn't know what the Preacher is capable of doing.
With excellent cinematography, interesting characters, an engaging story and good acting, "Pale Rider" is an excellent film. Other memorable characters include LaHood's son Josh (Chris Penn), Club (Richard Kiel, who is better known for his portrayal of the character "Jaws" from the James Bond films "The Spy Who Loved Me" & "Moonraker" in 1977 & 1979 respectively), McGill (Charles Hallahan), Ma Blankenship (Fran Ryan, 1916-2000) and Jed Blankenship (Richard Hamilton, 1920-2004). Memorable scenes include the Preacher's arrival, the boulder, visiting LaHood's hydraulic mine, the arrival of Stockburn and the final scenes. Overall, I rate "Pale Rider" with 5 stars.