Taglines: Hell comes home.
Outside the snowy mountain town of Lahood, California, thugs working for big-time miner Coy LaHood ride in and destroy the camp of a group of prospectors and their families who have settled to pan for gold in nearby Carbon Canyon. While leaving, they shoot a dog belonging to fourteen-year-old Megan Wheeler. As Megan buries her dog in the woods and prays for a miracle, thunder rolls and a stranger rides down the slopes.
Megan’s mother, Sarah, is being courted by Hull Barret. When Hull heads to town to pick up supplies, four of the thugs begin to beat him with axe staves but he is rescued by the stranger. Hull invites him to dinner and while the stranger is washing, Hull notices what look like six bullet wounds in his back. Shortly after, he appears wearing a clerical collar and is thereafter called “Preacher”.
Coy LaHood’s son Josh attempts to scare the Preacher off with a show of strength from his giant work-hand, Club, who breaks a large rock in half with a single hammer blow. When Club attempts to attack the Preacher, he hits Club in the face with his hammer and delivers a blow to Club’s groin, then gently helps him onto his horse. The miners now team together to smash the rest of the boulder.
Meanwhile, Coy LaHood returns from Sacramento and is furious to learn about the Preacher’s arrival, saying that his presence would strengthen the resolve of the tin-panners. Failing to bribe the Preacher into settling in the town instead, LaHood is persuaded to offer the miners $1000 per claim provided they evacuate within 24 hours. LaHood threatens to hire a corrupt Marshal named Stockburn to clear them out if they refuse.
The miners initially consider accepting the offer but when Hull reminds them of their purpose and sacrifices, they decide to stay and fight. The next morning, however, the Preacher leaves without notice and retrieves his revolver from a bank box. Meanwhile the miners find that LaHood’s men have blown up the creek running through their camp, causing it to dam up.
They have a brief discussion but agree to stay and continue mining the now drying creek bed. Megan, who has grown fond of the Preacher, goes looking for him and rides into the Lahood strip mining camp, where Josh attempts to rape her, while his cohorts look on and encourage him. At that moment, the Preacher arrives on horseback and rescues Megan, shooting Josh in the hand in the process.
Pale Rider is a 1985 American western film produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, who also stars in the lead role. The title is a reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, as the rider of a pale horse is Death. The film, which took in nearly $41 million at the box office, became the highest grossing Western of the 1980s.
Pale Rider (1985)
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Michael Moriarty, Carrie Snodgress, Chris Penn, Richard Dysart, Sydney Penny, Richard Kiel, Doug McGrath
Screenplay by: Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack
Production Design by: Edward C. Carfagno
Cinematography by: Bruce Surtees
Film Editing by: Joel Cox
Makeup Department: Kathryn Blondell, Barbara Guedel
Set Decoration by: Ernie Bishop
Music by: Lennie Niehaus
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: June 26, 1985