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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 La Hood]], 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 La Hood's {{mook}}s. With some convincing from Hull and Megan, the rest of the miners unite behind the Preacher against La Hood. 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 ''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 La Hoods 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.]]
* 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 [=LaHood's=] son as he's about to shoot Preacher InTheBack.]]
%%* DidTheyOrDidntThey: Preacher and Sarah.
* TheDragon: Stockburn, when he shows up, becomes this to La Hood.
%%* TheDrifter
* 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 La Hood, [[spoiler: Club turns around upon witnessing Megan's near-assault by one of the La Hood sons, and then helps The Preacher and Hull destroy the La 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 La Hood.]] Stockburn and his men also count.
* HiredGuns: Hull sort-of hires The Preacher with room and board. La Hood 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 [[{{Anvilicious}} shoot a girl's pet puppy]] in the opening scene. Later on, Stockburn's gang [[spoiler: kills one of the miners.]]
* 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 to Preacher.
%%* {{Prospector}}
* 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}}''.
* 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, [[spoiler: initially. She comes to accept his 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
%%* TookALevelInBadass Hull
* TitleDrop: "[[AsTheGoodBookSays I looked and there before me was a pale horse. Its rider was named Death.]]"
%%* TheUnreveal
* YouExclamation: When Stockburn finally comes face to face with the Preacher, he just emits a shocked "You!" before drawing his gun.