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->''"And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him."''

A [[TheGunslinger gunslinging]] [[TheDrifter drifter]] befriends a [[DeterminedHomesteader determined frontier family]] and is especially idolized by their child. Their livelihood is threatened by a bigger, more powerful company that seeks to drive them off their land by either force and intimidation, or simply buying them out. TheDrifter fights for the family and defeats the CorruptCorporateExecutive and his {{mook}}s, but ultimately leaves his friends behind and continues a life of drifting.

[[RecycledPremise No, this is not]] ''Film/{{Shane}}''. This is ''Pale Rider'', a Western directed by and starring Creator/ClintEastwood. Eastwood is cast as a [[NoNameGiven Preacher With No Name]] who crosses paths with a band of hapless gold miners hoping to strike it rich. The miners are often harassed by thugs hired by [[BigBad [=LaHood=]]], the CorruptCorporateExecutive of a local mining company, who hopes to drive them off the land.

Most of the miners are about to give in--except for [[PluckyGirl spunky protagonist Megan]], her mother, and their friend Hull Barret--when the Preacher shows up. The Preacher intervenes on Hull's behalf, saving him from [=LaHood=]'s {{mook}}s. With some convincing from Hull and Megan, the rest of the miners unite behind the Preacher against [=LaHood=]. Unfortunately, [=La=]Hood also recognizes the threat posed by the Preacher and in retaliation he hires [[TheDragon Stockburn]], a corrupt [[USMarshal marshal]] with a deadly posse. It seems as though Stockburn and the Preacher have a history.

The film is notable for being one of the very few Eastwood films to have strong religious and supernatural overtones. Many of its elements are derived from or similar to earlier Eastwood Westerns, namely ''The Film/DollarsTrilogy'' and ''Film/HighPlainsDrifter''.

!!''Pale Rider'' provides examples of:

* AsTheGoodBookSays: Throughout the film (as can be expected when the hero is "The Preacher"), but especially the passage from Revelation (the page quote) that Megan and her mother read as The Preacher rides in.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Stockburn, the marshal, is a villainous take on the trope.
* BackFromTheDead: Strongly implied, if the six bullet wounds on The Preacher's back are any indication.
* BadassLongcoat: Stockburn's entire posse wears matching brown coats. When they're all standing in a line looking down at a victim, it's pretty intimidating.
** The Preacher has a {{Badass}} duster himself, though he usually wears it closed. [[spoiler: Until he takes up his guns....]]
* BadassPreacher: Comes with having ClintEastwood play him. [[spoiler: Even before he takes up his guns,]] he manages to keep the [=LaHoods=] at bay via mental intimidation.
* BetterAsFriends: Megan's not too happy with this response.
* TheBrute: Club (played by Richard Kiel) is brought in to intimidate Preacher, but falls to a well-aimed GroinAttack.
%%* ChekhovsGun: Bison model
* CombatPragmatist: The Preacher is quite clever with his use of surroundings. And instead of fighting Club when they first meet, he manipulates him to help split a rock he an Hull were trying to break.
%%* ConservationOfNinjutsu
* ConvenientlyTimedAttackFromBehind: [[spoiler: near the end, Hull kicks in the back door and kills [=Coy LaHood=], who is pointing his rifle out the window at the helpless Preacher.]]
* CoveredInScars: Early in the film, we see Preacher's bare back, riddled with bullet wound scars. Considering how nasty they look, it's one of our biggest hints of Preacher's supernatural nature.
* DeadAllAlong: Much to the shock of Stockburn.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: [[spoiler: Club ends up helping the Preacher in one of the last fights of the film, grabbing Josh [=LaHood=] as he's about to shoot Preacher InTheBack.]]
%%* DidTheyOrDidntThey: Preacher and Sarah.
* TheDragon: Stockburn, when he shows up, becomes this to [=LaHood=].
* TheDrifter: Preacher appears to be this. However, it's strongly hinted that he's an agent of divine retribution.
* DuelToTheDeath: The finale ends up being Stockburn vs. Preacher.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: Preacher. Nobody bothers to ask for his real name throughout the whole film.
* HeelFaceTurn: Initially content to be a {{Mook}} for [=LaHood=], [[spoiler: Club turns around upon witnessing Megan's near-assault by Josh [=LaHood=], and then helps The Preacher and Hull destroy the [=LaHood=]Hood mine system.]]
* GroinAttack: Apparently the Preacher's not above this...
* TheGunslinger: The Preacher seemingly ''was'' one, [[spoiler: and takes up his guns again to defeat Stockburn and [=LaHood=].]] Stockburn and his men also count.
* HiredGuns: Hull sort-of hires The Preacher with room and board. [=LaHood=] hires Stockburn and his boys.
* HorsemenOfTheApocalypse: The TitleDrop invokes this in its parallel with The Preacher's arrival.
* IHaveYouNowMyPretty: [[spoiler: Narrowly [[AvertedTrope averted.]] The Preacher saves Megan in time.]]
* ItsAllMyFault: When Preacher suddenly disappears, Megan is convinced that he'd left because of their fight earlier.
* ItsPersonal: Implied, between Stockburn and the Preacher.
* KickTheDog: The thugs shoot a cow and [[{{Anvilicious}} Megan's pet puppy]] in the opening scene. Later on, Stockburn's gang [[spoiler: kills one of the miners just for mouthing off.]]
* LoveConfession: Megan and her mother both give one to The Preacher.
* LoveTriangle: Both Megan and her mother have romantic interest in the Preacher, oddly enough. But [[CelibateHero he doesn't seem to return the feelings for either of them]]. Of course, being that he's probably a ghost, it's possible that he can't return their feelings, physically or otherwise.
* MysteriousPast: We never know for sure just who The Preacher is, the exact nature of his past encounters with Stockburn, or even whether he's really a preacher. It's implied his near-death experience (if that's what it was...) was what led to him hanging up his guns and taking up the cloth...but even that's speculation.
* NeverGotToSayGoodbye: Megan to Preacher at the end
* NiceGuy: Hull's a great guy, just [[RomanticRunnerup really bland]] compared to the {{badass}} [[TheGunslinger Preacher]].
* NoNameGiven: Just "The Preacher". Not even Stockburn says his "real" name.
%%* PluckyGirl: Megan
* PrecociousCrush: Megan, who is 14, has one on Preacher, who is her elder by a significant margin (Eastwood was 55 at the time of filming).
* {{Prospector}}: The film is all about them, with a contrast between the more primitive methods of Hull's struggling, sympathetic tin-panner community and the more advanced (and destructive) methods of the villainous [=LaHood=]'s mining company.
* RapePillageAndBurn: Pillaging and burning appear in the beginning of the film, courtesy of the bad guy's {{mook}}s. The raping comes later, but the preacher intervenes to stop it going the course.
* RecycledPremise: The film can come across as a loose remake of ''Film/{{Shane}}''. Furthermore, with the heavily implied supernatural nature of The Preacher and the haunting main theme, it's also quite similar to Eastwood's directorial debut ''Film/HighPlainsDrifter'', albeit [[LighterAndSofter much less dark and nihilistic.]]
* RescueIntroduction: The Preacher and Hull first meet when the Preacher rescues him from a bunch of thugs.
%%* RomancingTheWidow: Hull and Sarah
* RomanticRunnerup: Hull for Sarah, who is clearly more interested in Preacher after she gets to know him. [[spoiler: However, she comes to accept Hull's proposal upon realizing it would never work out between her and The Preacher.]]
* SceneryPorn: Actually [[DownplayedTrope downplayed.]] There isn't ''too much'' emphasis on the surrounding environment, in this Western.
* SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan: [[spoiler: Sarah ends up with Hull]]
%%* SmittenTeenageGirl
* StealthHiBye: Done all the time by Preacher to imply his supernatural nature.
* StockQuotes: See TitleDrop. Notably, as Megan recites that passage, we see Preacher ride up outside the house.
* TookALevelInBadass Hull. [[spoiler: In the film's climax, he accompanies Preacher to attack [=LaHood=]'s mining camp with sticks of dynamite. A little later, he's the one who takes out [=LaHood=] while Preacher takes care of Stockburn and his men.]]
* TitleDrop: "[[AsTheGoodBookSays I looked and there before me was a pale horse. Its rider was named Death.]]"
%%* TheUnreveal
* VillainousCheekbones: John Russell put his high cheekbones to good use as the antagonistic Stockburn.
* YouExclamation: When Stockburn finally comes face to face with the Preacher, he just emits a shocked "You!" before drawing his gun.