Fact #1: Clint Eastwood built the entire town from scratch
Initially, Universal Pictures wanted the movie to be shot entirely in the studio lot. Clint Eastwood though, had other plans in mind. He decided to build the town of Lago, which was located around three hundred miles away from Hollywood and near the Mono Lake in the California Sierras.
In the movie set, you had as many as fourteen houses and a two-story hotel built with proper interiors for location shoots. There were ten laborers and a forty-six-man crew of technicians working together for over eighteen days to make it possible. Sadly, after the movie was completed, the entire town was burnt down.
Fact #2: John Wayne denounced the movie for its violence
After the movie’s release, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood seemed to be caught up in a feud with each other. As sources suggested, John received a letter from Eastwood suggesting to cast him in High Plains Drifter as Wayne’s career had started to fade.
Perhaps, the idea of that wasn’t as appealing to John. John responded back with an angry letter, publicly denouncing the movie for its violence. Apparently, Wayne viewed the film as an un-American and he swore to never star in an Eastwood film. However, Clint didn’t seem to care about the criticism and, in fact, found his response quite hilarious.
Fact #3: Clint Eastwood often told his crew and cast to “Go to hell”
The name of the town had actually changed from Lago to Hell. Clint had quite a sense of humor as he would tease the crew and cast, asking them to go to hell each time they were required to go to set.
Fact #4: The cast of “High Plains Drifter” painted the town red, literally
For the movie, actors and actresses initially started painting the houses of Lago red for the shoot. However, the task was then taken over and completed by professionals. Word has it, around three hundred and eighty gallons of paint was used to paint Lago red.
Fact #5: The western mystery was filmed in just six weeks
Did you think that creating an entire town would make the shooting time go up? Not quite. Ever since Clint read the Universal Studios nine-page proposal, he decided he had to direct this movie. One of the more versatile directors, Clint is also a very efficient director and producer.
Fact #6: Clinton would drive around in a pick-up truck, picking filming locations himself
Apart from directing, producing, and starring, Clint Eastwood was also picking set locations for the western himself. His pick-up truck covered the whole of Oregon, Nevada and California in search of the perfect location – eventually, he chose the shores of Mono Lake.
There were also additional locations added for particular shots.
Fact #7: Only three sections of the movie were shot at night
High Plains Drifter was mostly filmed during the daytime. The Lago town looked different in daylight due to the variety of strange colors. Clint added a supernatural touch to the movie by inserting eerie music and a spooky dream sequence into it.