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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Pale Rider

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Clint Eastwood made The Outlaw Josey Wales in 1976 and then waited nine years before gracing us with another Western in the form of 1985’s Pale Rider. It was a return to form for the legend as he sunk back into a type of character that he had played many times before. While Preacher, as he is come to known in the film, isn’t a continuation of any of his existing work, Eastwood would come to personify the strong/silent type that films like Pale Rider, High Plains Drifter, and the Man With No Name series would present on screen. Let’s take a look at a few things that make Pale Rider unique. This is 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Pale Rider.

1. There are a couple of theories about the film and the background of some of the characters that I found interesting. One such theory is that Marshall Stockburn was the father of The Preacher and by killing him in the end, Eastwood’s character was somehow killing that image of the Old West gunslinger that he was famous for playing.

2. Clint Eastwood suffered a pretty serious injury when his horse fell through some thin ice and launched him to the ground. He ended up with a dislocated shoulder and he claims it was the worst injury he had ever suffered on one of his films.

3. The story goes that on the night of the West Coasts premiere of the film at the Golden Bough Theater in Carmel, California, Clint Eastwood had a tryst with a flight attendant named Jacelyn Reeves. A child would be born to them by the name of Scott Reeves. Years later, he would change his name to Scott Eastwood.

4. Highest grossing Western of the 1980’s. It was also the first major box office success of this genre following the critical and commercial failure of 1980’s Heaven’s Gate.

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5. Pale Rider was primarily filmed in the Boulder Mountains and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in Idaho. The train station scenes were filmed in Tuolumne County, California and a handful of other scenes were shot in the former real-life Gold Rush town of Columbia, California.

6. After the fight scene with Richard Kiehl, you can see in the film that when The Preacher helps him onto his horse a step is there for him to mount the horse. In fact, the first horse used collapsed from the weight of Kiehl and a stronger horse had to be brought in.

7. The bullet pattern on John Russell’s Marshall Stockburn when he is shot is the same as the scar pattern we see on the back of the Preacher.

8. The title refers to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the book of Revelation 6:8. “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.”

9. Remade in 2007 as Dolph Lundgren’s Missionary Man.

10. You can’t mention Pale Rider without discussing the thought that Clint Eastwood’s character was a ghost. There are many things throughout the film that would lead us to believe this (the scars on his back, Stockburn claiming that he was already dead, his sudden appearance after the prayers of young Megan) but the surest sign for me that this is the case is that Clint Eastwood believed it to be true. It would also go a long way to explain why he’s never injured in the gunfights.

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