With elements of YOJIMBO, FOR A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, HIGH NOON and several other films, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, Eastwood's second directorial effort, is one of the classic "revisionist" westerns, a movie that would not only do Kurosawa and Leone proud, but piss also off John Wayne in the process (The Duke reportedly despised this film.). What could have been just a good old revenge story is turned into something far more mythical, mysterious and memorable by Clint Eastwood's decision not to reveal his character's name or his motives, leaving it to the audience to decide such matters. It begins as a typical gun-for-hire film, with the people of the small town of Lago needing Eastwood's stranger to protect them from some gunslingers just released from prison, but as HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER unfolds, its underlying themes of guilt and punishment become clearer. Like so many of the best westerns, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER is primarily visual, with Eastwood obviously the most famous alumni of Sergio Leone's school of directing. If you love dark westerns, don't miss this one - it is superb from beginning to end. - JB
ADD ANOTHER QUOTE AND MAKE IT A GALLON
"Don't know the man."
"Well, you missed your chance. You shot him yesterday."