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I saw this movie when it first came out, and didn't give it much thought; I saw it again (after having recently watched "Unforgiven" (1992) and "Dirty Harry" (1971)), and *loved it*. I don't know when Malpaso Productions (Clint Eastwood's company) became essentially "Clint Eastwood," but this was clearly part of, if not after, Eastwood's breakout, and I'm only beginning to fully realize just what a megastar he is in Hollywood. 

"Pale Rider" is based on one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and has religious motifs and sub-motifs throughout. It is a deep-thinking, reflective "Western" full of parable and allegory - like "Unforgiven," it's a "Western" in quotes.

There's no question that Clint Eastwood is Hollywood - he's an impresario for the masses, even if his work is on a higher plain than many others, many of whom merely drift around for the money. But for mass consumption, Eastwood has done an honorable job, and in the process, has split many a stone, and broken many a seal.

Parts about the ending I found a bit over-the-top (the hand reaching out of the water trough (which incidentally Roger Ebert (who I think was a *fine* critic) felt should have been edited out)), and melodramatic (Megan calling out to Preacher, saying "I love you! Thank you!"), but hey, it's Hollywood.

I also find it discussion-worthy and interesting whether or not hydraulic mining was a precursor to fracking.

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