Clint Eastwood took over the direction of The Outlaw Josey Wales from its co-scenarist Philip Kaufman when the two men fell out over the character of Josey Wales. The result was Eastwood’s finest film to date, both as actor and director.
He plays a peaceable Missouri farmer whose family is murdered by Unionist guerrillas, led by Captain Terrill (Bill Mckinney). He takes his revenge as a Confederate guerrilla in a band led by a giant of man named Fletcher (John Vernon), and when the Civil War ends, he sets off for Texas with a bounty on his head, reluctantly acquiring a motley bunch of companions on the way, including an old Cherokee named Lone Watie (Chief Dan George) and a young Indian girl, Little Moonlight (Geraldine Keams).
They set up a commune that draws Wales back into the world of emotions. At the film’s climax, they must defend it against Wales’ pursuers.
This is a superb Western of epic scope and, thanks to John Surtees’ cinematography, great pictorial beauty.
Eastwood is supported by some spirited playing, notably from Chief Dan George as a self-mocking Indian ancient, and John Vernon as Wales’ compromised Civil War commander, Fletcher, condemned to hunt him down.
Chief Dan George
Bloody Bill Anderson
Bruce M. Fischer