Classic Reflections: HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, An Eastwood Classic

Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, A review

I finally watched the 1973 classic western, High Plains Drifter.  I know, I know... keeping right up with the most modern releases, right?

High Plains Drifter is the classic Clint Eastwood western movie. Our unnamed hero, the drifter, played by Eastwood stoically rides into the small lakeside town of Lago. It's a very small town with a dark secret and a big problem.

Also of note is that Eastwood directed this film. This was not his first directorial gig, with the 1971 film, Play Misty for Me being his official first-time directorial gig. He has since gone on and fine-tuned his talent for guiding casts in 38 other projects including 2014's American Sniper.


Right away our hero is tested while he's getting a shave and three ruffians start to taunt him... but that ends with them all getting shot and killed.

Turns out that he just killed off the hired guns of the town. Sure, they were ruffians, but they were hired ruffians in anticipation of three criminals who are getting out of prison and returning to the town that was responsible for them getting put in jail.

The rest of the story involves the town hiring our drifter to take the place of the three guys he killed, and the town adjusting to his demands for preparing for the arrival of the three criminals, who are hell-bent on revenge.

The town hates his demands for prep, but they are critical.

This film is typical Eastwood western, with blood thirsty criminals, scared townsfolk and classic "taking" of the women by our drifter.

A great quote from the movie, after a second botched attempt to take the town back from the drifter,

"You already have seven dead bodies to your credit."
"I was just stopping by for a bottle of whisky and a hot bath."

It's a fun, simple classic that is a nice escape from your day-to-day modern era of cell phones and space lasers.

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