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Author Topic: Preacher in "Pale Rider"  (Read 29459 times)
Lin Sunderland
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« Reply #40 on: February 12, 2005, 11:36:43 AM »

The more we look into this movie the more the plot thickens. I am sure this is just what Mr. Eastwood wanted.  ;)
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Lilly
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« Reply #41 on: February 12, 2005, 05:09:39 PM »

it is a possibility that he might have been one of LaHood's best deputies too but got betrayed.

Good idea, gimpy.  I always thought of the Preacher as an old adversary of Stockburn - someone who'd crossed him and his deputies over some other issue in the past.  But now you mention it, he could be a former deputy of his.  Maybe he did Stockburn's dirty work along with the others, until one day his conscience was pricked by one bad deed too far.  So he clashed with Stockburn, and gained those scars on his back.  No wonder Stockburn hated him so much - afterall what greater enemy is there than a former colleague who turns on you. 

This kinda continues the "angel" theme...bad turns good (swaps gun for dog collar), but there remains the possibility that the "angel" might "fall" again.  And only the formerly "bad" knows enough, and is hard enough, to take on the bad in the name of good.  The Preacher had to "fall" a little (swap the dog collar for the gun) in order to do good on behalf of the town's people.  But was he able to lock his gun away again, and take out the dog collar once more, or did he open his safety deposit - Pandora's? - box for good?

Just my rambling thoughts...

The more we look into this movie the more the plot thickens. I am sure this is just what Mr. Eastwood wanted. ;)

Yes I agree Lin, and true of so many Eastwood movies.  The not knowing is a big part of the fun.   O0
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« Reply #42 on: February 12, 2005, 05:50:39 PM »

This kinda continues the "angel" theme...bad turns good (swaps gun for dog collar), but there remains the possibility that the "angel" might "fall" again.  And only the formerly "bad" knows enough, and is hard enough, to take on the bad in the name of good.  The Preacher had to "fall" a little (swap the dog collar for the gun) in order to do good on behalf of the town's people.  But was he able to lock his gun away again, and take out the dog collar once more, or did he open his safety deposit - Pandora's? - box for good?

Just my rambling thoughts...
Very interesting  O0 ^-^

I wish my thoughts could ramble like this more often ...  :)

I'm not sure whether or not he put the gun back into the safety box at the end ...

However we could draw a parallel with what happens to Will Munny in Unforgiven ... he proved us that it's hard to quit.
As if when you're a gunfighter once, you're a gunfighter for the rest of your life.
Whatever distance you try to put between you and your former self -assuming that Preacher was a gunfighter or one of Stockburn's deputies, it always seems to catch you up ...
He "fell" again ... so maybe he's lost now ... maybe he's turned "bad" again  ???
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Lilly
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« Reply #43 on: February 12, 2005, 06:29:27 PM »

we could draw a parallel with what happens to Will Munny in Unforgiven ... he proved us that it's hard to quit.
As if when you're a gunfighter once, you're a gunfighter for the rest of your life.
Whatever distance you try to put between you and your former self -assuming that Preacher was a gunfighter or one of Stockburn's deputies, it always seems to catch you up ...
He "fell" again ... so maybe he's lost now ... maybe he's turned "bad" again  ???

Cheers AB.  Good points.   O0  I'm not sure either, about the Preacher or about Munny.  I always liked to think that Munny went off and "prospered in dry goods", but his demeanour at the end of Unforgiven had me worried.  I find it more likely that he went back to the old ways than that the Preacher did (but that could be because we see a lot more of his past than the Preacher's; the character is more intricately drawn). 

I like to think - and for me this is the more likely scenario - that the Preacher was able to put his gun away again.  At least temporarily.  I say temporarily, because I agree with what you say:
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Whatever distance you try to put between you and your former self [...] it always seems to catch you up ...
And because he told Sara that yes, he would move on again.  I see him not turning "bad" (in the unstable way that Munny seemed to be in danger of), but rather traveling his restless road, wearing his dog collar (the thing that helps keep him on the straight-and-narrow, restrains his darker side), and somewhere along the way resorting to his gun once more, perhaps again to do ultimate good on behalf of others.   

I think Munny either managed to hold himself together and start a completely new life in San Francisco, or else went to the other extreme, back to his wild, bad old ways.  But I see the Preacher as more in between, only getting out his gun when he felt he had to.  Afterall, unlike Munny, he was restrained at the end, he killed the deputies and Stockburn, and then went off on his lonely way, job done.

I don't know if he's real or a ghostly avenging angel, but in a way it doesn't matter.  The Preacher who casts off his peaceful mantle when necessary, and the "good spirit" that intervenes on the side of good, aren't so very different. 

On the other hand, maybe the Preacher really has finished killing once and for all.  He had personal business with Stockburn, and by getting even he exorcised a ghost.  Afterall, something had brought him back to the town where he had left his gun for safe-keeping.  Maybe that was the end, and he became a full-time "preacher" thereafter.

 :-X
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KC
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« Reply #44 on: February 12, 2005, 09:37:50 PM »

... wearing his dog collar (the thing that helps keep him on the straight-and-narrow, restrains his darker side)

What a wonderful way to interpret the symbolism of the Preacher's collar, Lilly! I never thought of it like that.
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Lilly
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« Reply #45 on: February 16, 2005, 10:06:51 PM »

  Thanks KC.

Apologies if this has been posted before (I don't see many threads on Pale Rider), but I just found this sweet photo of Clint on set with Sydney Penny who played Megan.

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« Reply #46 on: February 17, 2005, 01:58:16 AM »

Nice pic  O0


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« Reply #47 on: February 17, 2005, 02:18:24 AM »

What a nice picture ! Thank you !
Ahh ! when her sceam "i love you" echoes trough the mountains .... ! 
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Lin Sunderland
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« Reply #48 on: February 17, 2005, 07:56:27 AM »

After that pic she really meant the 'I love you'   :D :D :D
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« Reply #49 on: February 17, 2005, 09:18:31 AM »

You bet.

I really love him in Pale Rider ... he's great, but he's also so ...  :D :D ... you know what I mean  ^-^
I think it's the beard  ;D
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Lin Sunderland
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« Reply #50 on: February 17, 2005, 11:07:04 AM »

You bet.
I think it's the beard  ;D

That's why I married Gary!!!!!!!!! ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
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Chessie
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« Reply #51 on: February 18, 2005, 12:22:59 AM »

I love that picture, it's part of the cover of my western screenplay notebook.  It's so adorable.  Clint looks like a total father figure in that shot.   ;D
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« Reply #52 on: February 18, 2005, 07:20:16 AM »

Johnny come lately rides again, to post on a subject waaay late...what else is new?

Okay, I own both this movie and HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, and the parallels are easy to draw. Stranger rides into town.....yada yada yada.

But I have to say something....the Preacher was neither a ghost nor an entity...and one simple act proved that.

The preacher survived a clash with Stockburn in the past, it was obvious by the surprise from Stockburn that they both had known each other, and that it was Stockburn that got the best of him before. But there is one thing no one is talking about.

The final shot to Stockburn was not in his body, but in his head.

I always took that as "Well, Ive learned from experience that you can survive six bullet wounds, but cant survive one well placed one...and I dont want him coming back on me the way I came back on him..so..BLAM"...and it was over.

I honestly believe that simple act of making sure that Stockburn was TRULY dead, showed that he had survived his confrontation with Stockburn, and in learning the err of his ways, found God.

Now, so far as the sleeping with Sarah incident...another simple act kept him from being "damned" from that act.

When he returned from town, he had done two things, dropped the collar, and picked up the gun. You could see the awe in everyones face when he returned, he no longer looked the part of a kind gentle man with a questionable past. He looked the part of a stone cold killer. His walk, talk everything about him had changed. He was still the man they had grown to love, but he was no longer "Preacher"...as a matter of fact it became apparent to those people, moreso now than before, they had NO IDEA who this man was or what he was capable of doing.

I honestly believe when he picked up his guns, he had dropped the cloth permanently. You cant just take it off and pick it up where you left off. Life isnt that simple, and with people like him, life is very final. Black or white, dead or alive, killing or not, no shades of gray.

When the preacher picked up his guns, he stopped being a man of God. When he STOPPED being a man of God, and realized there was a remote, or strong chance, he wouldnt live thru the next day, he indulged in his desires as a man, as a person...that he had denied all that time. I figure better Sarah than Meagan.

So in actuality, we are talking two characters (doesnt it seem all of Clints characters have some kind of duality to them?) The Preacher, and the killer.
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« Reply #53 on: February 22, 2005, 11:48:55 AM »

 :) Hey, great post bdc!

The final shot to Stockburn was not in his body, but in his head.

I always took that as "Well, Ive learned from experience that you can survive six bullet wounds, but cant survive one well placed one...and I dont want him coming back on me the way I came back on him..so..BLAM"...and it was over.

I honestly believe that simple act of making sure that Stockburn was TRULY dead
Right on!  O0  I remember thinking of that significance at the time, but had forgotten that the last shot was to the head, and that the Preacher didn't only inflict identical wounds to his own.  I had a tendency to think of him as real, but couldn't find a way to believe that, in the 19th century, someone could realistically survive six shots through the chest.  But I agree with you that the final shot to the head is a strong hint that the Preacher had survived a previous encounter.  Thanks bdc, your clear thinking is helping me sort out my conflicted brain.   :D

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he had survived his confrontation with Stockburn, and in learning the err of his ways, found God.
Interesting...I hadn't thought of that direct connection before, but it makes sense.  (But I wonder why he wanted revenge if he had truly learnt to follow the Christian path...maybe his coming back to town was just a coincidence, and he ended up taking on Stockburn only because of his actions against the mining community.  Somehow I don't quite buy that though.)

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When he returned from town, he had done two things, dropped the collar, and picked up the gun. You could see the awe in everyones face when he returned, he no longer looked the part of a kind gentle man with a questionable past. He looked the part of a stone cold killer. His walk, talk everything about him had changed. He was still the man they had grown to love, but he was no longer "Preacher"...as a matter of fact it became apparent to those people, moreso now than before, they had NO IDEA who this man was or what he was capable of doing.
Great points.  Yes, I had forgotten that the collar was cast off before his encounter with Sara, but that's important. 

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When he [...] realized there was a remote, or strong chance, he wouldnt live thru the next day, he indulged in his desires as a man, as a person...that he had denied all that time.
Nice explanation, that makes it even more understandable. 

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I figure better Sarah than Meagan.
Definitely!  People can argue about the rights and wrongs of his sleeping with Sara (assuming one thinks he did), but surely most people believe that taking advantage of Megan's innocence would have been really immoral.  For what my "moral" view is worth ( ;D), I don't have much of a problem with his liaison with Sara.

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I honestly believe when he picked up his guns, he had dropped the cloth permanently. You cant just take it off and pick it up where you left off. Life isnt that simple, and with people like him, life is very final. Black or white, dead or alive, killing or not, no shades of gray.
Maybe you're right.  You put it very convincingly, but I'm still not 100% sure either way.  I still think he's got a conscience, which may trouble him again, and cause him to try to see whether the dog collar still fits. 

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So in actuality, we are talking two characters (doesnt it seem all of Clints characters have some kind of duality to them?) The Preacher, and the killer.
Now that's one thing we definitely agree on.  I love the moral ambiguity in Eastwood movies.
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« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2005, 04:30:32 AM »

yeh that beard sure goes with the preacher look - awesome
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« Reply #55 on: February 24, 2005, 10:18:05 AM »

Interesting...I hadn't thought of that direct connection before, but it makes sense.  (But I wonder why he wanted revenge if he had truly learnt to follow the Christian path...maybe his coming back to town was just a coincidence, and he ended up taking on Stockburn only because of his actions against the mining community.  Somehow I don't quite buy that though.)....quote from Lilly.

I dont think that he was abandoning the Christian path by choice, it was out of necessity. He weighed the odds, and figured better one soul, his own, against the entire mining camps.

If you remember, he did attempt, on more than one occasion, to try to resolve things. He spoke of the camp moving, letting their claims be bought.

But once Stockburn became involved, he knew that there was no other recourse but violence. Stockburn seemed the type that went and committed violence even if not necessary. It was one thing when he was beating up on the giant or the bosses' son, but once Stockburn became involved...it was no longer a rivalry. It was about to become a masacre on a grand scale. And for the cost that he came at, more than likely by the time he had heard Stockburns NAME the word massacre had already shown up in correspondance with Stockburn and the boss.

So it was beyond the point of no return, and the Preacher had to make a decision. Damn myself to hell, or damn these miners to it...because Stockburn wasnt going to stop at one person, he was hired to massacre the entire camp.

Maybe thats when he realized that God brought him there, but not as a Preacher. There was a long time that he had been preaching faith that he COULD have sought out Stockburn...but he chose not to.

He faced Stockburn because he was out of options.
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« Reply #56 on: February 24, 2005, 11:07:06 AM »

I'm still not 100% sure either way. I still think he's got a conscience, which may trouble him again, and cause him to try to see whether the dog collar still fits.
Neither am I. That's why I think that going as far as to refer to him as a "killer" is questionable ... I don't believe he is a bad man ... he has a conscience.

He purely and simply sacrificed his soul to save these miners ... putting aside the fact that it also gave him the oppportunity to get even with Stockburn.

He was the shepherd .... the miners were the lost sheeps ... he was sent there to show them the way to Independence, to free them from LaHood's tyranny  :-\

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Now that's one thing we definitely agree on.  I love the moral ambiguity in Eastwood movies.
"There's a darkness inside all of us"  ;) ;) ... I think Eastwood has always liked exploring this dark side of the human mind, and it definitely shows in the characters he chose to portray, notably in his westerns (Stranger, Preacher, Munny, Josey ...)

I love that too in his movies  O0

I don't think that he was abandoning the Christian path by choice, it was out of necessity. He weighed the odds, and figured better one soul, his own, against the entire mining camps.

If you remember, he did attempt, on more than one occasion, to try to resolve things. He spoke of the camp moving, letting their claims be bought.
This is precisely why I think Preacher did not drop the cloth permanently ... he traded it for the guns out of necessity, so I think that now that he's done with Stockburn and that LaHood's people are safe, he will realize that he doesn't have to carry these guns any more (no need to) ... and he will eventually take back the cloth -and make a choice ... because deep down there's still a part of himself that hasn't been corrupted by all this violence  :-\ ...
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« Reply #57 on: February 25, 2005, 02:28:12 AM »

he came because megan called him - her innocence in a world of turmoil

the killing of her dog a sort of sacrifice and a boding of what was to come

he was her revenge for her dog

she always saw him as a preacher - someone who was gonna make a sermon and quite often he does preach the miners as you say

in the end she still calls for the preacher - in her eyes he is even though he did all those things

to others he is from hell - look at stockburn' eyes

great ambiguity

the twilight between good and bad - heaven and hell

as in war people make decisions that they probably wouldn't do outside of war or for justice etc.







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bdc28
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« Reply #58 on: February 25, 2005, 10:32:39 AM »

Well, technically if we are going to get biblical..  ;)

If Preacher came because Megan called for him, it was not as his role as a Preacher, well not completely.

The Preacher restored faith in a mining camp that was all but beaten emotionally. LaHood's crew had them scared to even go into town alone. The beginning scenes showed people leaving the mining camp, as if it was a normal thing to pick up and go.

In that respect, yes the Preacher came to Megans aid, and answered her call.

But all else was indicative of his history. Any preacher could have walked into that town, but only one with his history could have brought the ultimate resolution to his problem.

But did he pick up his collar again? Not likely. If you remember, the Preacher picked up his guns from a lockbox, and dropped the collar INTO it. The lockbox, to me, is symbolic of shedding your skin, your past, your history as that person. When he initially got the lockbox, it was to "imprison the gunfighter and the temptation to be one". Which leads to the ultimate question. If he fully intended to go back to being a preacher, why did he drop his collar into the lockbox?

I believe it was the same symbolism. He walked away and locked away the Preacher side of his personality. He walked away from that choice, the same way he walked away from the choice of being a hired gun the first time.

Of course, I just like to read alot into images.  ;)
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« Reply #59 on: February 25, 2005, 07:54:17 PM »

Collars are cheap ... 

Nice thinking through of the symbolism, bdc!   
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