A rich land baron, who's into his mining, falls out with a ragtag bunch of gold prospecting settlers during a dispute over land claims. After implementing some strong arm tactics, a mysterious preacher shows up and sides with the meek, causing the mining baddies no end of problems with the settlers' renewed spirit. Eventually though the mining boss gets fed up and calls in a vicious and corrupt Marshall along with his po~faced deputies, leaving the vicar no choice other than to bash more than his bible..
Sadly not one of Clint's better westerns this one. The scenery is nice and some of the action is good, with a solid, haunting, supernatural feel in a few places, but unfortunately its just not dangerous or atmospheric enough, with the supernatural edge giving way far too often to a 'Little House on the Morality Prairie' vibe that didn't work for me. There's nowhere near enough bloodshed or meanness and a lot of the scripting and humour is predictable and dull.
Don't get me wrong, Clint plays his usual tough, scarred stranger persona and because of that, this is superior to many westerns (he is, after all, the main reason to watch this!) but if you compare this to the likes of ...Josey Wales, The Unforgiven, the 'Dollars' trilogy and High Plains Drifter, to which it bears many resemblances, there is no comparison. Hats off however to the support cast, as with the likes of a young Penn, Snodgress (good in Murphy's law too) and Moriarty, as is usual, they do a decent job.
The bluray looks good enough, no major complaints but for the fact that it's the kind of film they surely could have made look spectacular?!
All round, Pale Rider is a decent enough attempt but don't be fooled into thinking this is a classic, because in my opinion it isn't and scored against its peers I would only award it 3.25/5.