Once upon a time, Clint Eastwood was the man of the hour. He was ruggedly masculine, and that look suited the Westerns and period films he did. Between The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and the Dollars Trilogy, Eastwood captured the nation’s heart.
His films were known for action along with their scenic landscapes, even though sometimes they were just sand and dust. However, it was beautifully shot dust and sand.
But one film of his is specifically remembered for its gorgeous landscape shots- Pale Rider. The movie happens in the 1870s or 1880s in the fictional Lahood, California town. It was a Western as well and got released in 1984.
Clint Eastwood produced and directed it, apart from also taking on the lead role of Preacher in it. The movie was beloved for its plot, dialogue, and action. Adding the cherry on top were the stunning locales. So where was it filmed?
Clint Eastwood filmed Pale Rider in multiple scenic locations like the Boulder Mountains in Central Idaho and the Sierra Nevada in Central California. In the opening credits of the film, beautiful jagged hills were shown. These were filmed in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in Central Idaho. The scene where Eastwood’s Preacher gets his pistol at a Wells Fargo office got filmed at Gold Rush Town, Columbia. The other important location is the Railtown 1987 State Historic Park. Here, the company filmed the train station shots.
Where Was Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider Filmed?
Pale Rider is about Clint Eastwood’s character Preacher, who gives it his all to protect a small town from the hands of a mining company that wants to take their land. The film was financed by Clint Eastwood’s own The Malpaso Company. It ended up grossing upwards of $41 million at the box office. In fact, it ended up becoming the 1980s highest-grossing Western.
Almost every viewer admired the mesmerizing shots of the film. So many still want to know its filming locations. Pale Rider was mainly shot in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Boulder Mountains in Central Idaho. These were just to the north of Sun Valley. Viewers actually get to see the Sawtooth Mountains in the opening credits itself.
Clint Eastwood traveled with his cast and crew to the Sawtooth Mountains, the federally protected lands, to film Pale Rider. Many film buffs think this was one of the remotest regions where a Western got filmed. However, Eastwood’s gamble worked because the rugged and gritty setting worked wonders for the plot and its lead character.
In fact, the locations became characters in themselves and added more drama to the film. The entire town of Lahood was built from scratch, and this included some of the interiors too.
The makers were so dedicated to shooting in that location that they brought in all the materials needed to build the set from an old dirt road that led to the rocky and steep grades. Of course, it wasn’t an easy task to do.
Also, it was all torn down after the filming got completed. Nothing was left behind- not even a nail. If you head there today, you will find it looks untouched and pristine, like nothing was ever there.
So the dedication towards making the film look as good as possible and also ensuring that they left the location just like they found it was a remarkable trait of Clint Eastwood and his company.
Apart from this, The Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness and White Clouds Wilderness areas served as locations too. After all, the fictional small town of Lahood is shown to be surrounded by beautiful mountains. So what better place than these can show it?
As for the several train station scenes- those were filmed at the Railtown 1987 State Historic Park located near Jamestown in Tuolumne County, California. The place still welcomes visitors from Monday to Thursday between April to October. Other notable locations include the Gold Rush Town. It’s situated in the Columbia State Historic Park.
The iconic scene where Preacher picks up his pistol from the Wells Fargo office got filmed here. That’s not all. Other major scenes were captured in the Sierra Nevada in central California.
So what are your thoughts on Pale Rider?
Do you think the locations of the film are beautiful and remarkable? Do they add to the beauty of the film? Or are they highly exaggerated because many look at the film with nostalgia goggles?
Also, is Pale Rider worthy of being called the greatest 1980s Western action film?
Let us know in the comments below.