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This tremendous and unusual Western is one of director and star Clint Eastwood’s finest films.

Eastwood plays the title farmer who joins a band of Confederate guerrillas when Union soldiers kill his family and burn down his farm – and he’s still bent on revenge when the Civil War ends.

Eastwood is at his enigmatic best and there are memorable performances by Paula Trueman as an octogenarian pioneer and Sam Bottoms as the boy soldier who is Wales’ first trail partner. However, the best lines go to Chief Dan George, whose deadpan delivery steals the film.

The script is dry, laconic and literate, the music and photography are spectacular, the action first-rate and there is also a surprising amount of humour.

A masterpiece.