Thirty years after it was made, The Outlaw Josey Wales still stands up as Eastwood's finest outing as director. Like the later Unforgiven, it casts Eastwood in his traditional role of legendary gunfighter, but explores and humanizes the character, carrying him on a journey of genuine change and development. For me, this makes for a far more meaningful and enjoyable film than something like High Plains Drifter, in which Eastwood is just an inexplicable figure of vengeance; he isn't given a lot of credit for his acting skills, but when called upon do something other than just shoot people and look mean, Eastwood can deliver the goods. The Outlaw Josey Wales is one of only three films in which he cries onscreen, and in the opening scenes of the film he actually convinces as a meek farmer unable to stop his family`s murder. Whilst, throughout the film, he projects an image of violence and hatred, we see this image punctured as he continually comes into contact with other, weaker outcasts from society whom he is compelled to help. A story about redemption, not revenge, the film finally acknowledges that Josey Wales' true nature, of a family man, provider, and protector, still exists inside the feared outlaw he has become, and when he finally confronts the man who killed his wife and child, he is willing to forgive, and only kills him because the man in question is unable to comprehend this forgiveness. Ending on an upbeat note of new life, The Outlaw Josey Wales is Eastwood's most positive and emotionally complex work.