High plains drifter is Clint Eastwood, the nascent director, at his most elemental. He's post-Leone and pre-Josey Wales here, working from a script by Ernest Shaft Tidyman, playing a "squinty-eyed son of a bitch"who saves a small town in the Old West from a sadistic group of escaped convicts. It's a harsh, frequently brutal amorality play. The credits have barely rolled before we're treated to callous multiple murders and a 'consenting rape'scene.

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Sierra Nirvana

High plains drifter is Clint Eastwood, the nascent director, at his most elemental. He’s post-Leone and pre-Josey Wales here, working from a script by Ernest Shaft Tidyman, playing a “squinty-eyed son of a bitch”who saves a small town in the Old West from a sadistic group of escaped convicts. It’s a harsh, frequently brutal amorality play. The credits have barely rolled before we’re treated to callous multiple murders and a ‘consenting rape’scene. The Leone connections are underscored as Eastwood outwits the venal townsfolk, ‘Dollars style, by initially aiding them and then leaving them to the mercy of the bandits. Only this time Eastwood takes Leone’s mysterious stranger model to its logical conclusion by playing, literally, an avenging angel. The movie is fantastically odd, with a midget sheriff, gothic horror flashbacks and the otherworldly landscape of California’s High Sierras. It’s also the most distinctive and nastiest western of Eastwood’s career. A stone-cold classic by anyone’s standards.