Lots of times we see the hero in a movie like this as a caring, conscientious savior. Not so here. The question for us is “what DOES he care about and why?” In this Western, we have Clint Eastwood’s character as our hero. He’s been a killer and a despised dude in his past but now we see something more resigned. In fact, we don’t know what he’s willing to do to these evil killers and hoodlums.
I think the dark nature of Eastwood’s character makes this film extra special as a revenge. It’s not a revenge Western until something awful is done, and early on in the film, it is. Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood’s characters represent the final season of a cowboy’s life. They watch and marvel at what the young bloods are willing to do. Never again, they say to themselves.
Gene Hackman’s character, the Sheriff, is pure evil. Ultimately his darkness brings it out by necessity in those around him. This is one of the best westerns out there. I highly recommend it. 10/10.