- Directors: Clint Eastwood
- Producers: Robert Daley
- Writers: Ernest Tidyman, Dean Riesner
- Genres: Thriller, Western
- Actors: Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill, Billy Curtis
A lone man on horseback emerges from a shimmering desert horizon and heads into the fictional town of Lago, in a setting like the Arizona territory. After passing a cemetery on the town’s outskirts, he rides slowly down the main street, where the townspeople eye him warily. He exchanges a stare with three gun-toting men on the boardwalk of the saloon; then his attention is drawn sharply by the crack of a teamster’s whip.
Dismounting, this Stranger (Eastwood) goes to the saloon, for a beer and a bottle of whiskey. The gunslingers come in and bait him as a “flea-bitten range bum”, not “fast enough” for Lago. Baiting them in return, he speaks quietly, telling them only that he is “[a] lot faster than [they]’ll ever live to be.” He exits and walks across the street to the barbershop. Though unnerved by him, the barber gamely begins giving him a shave.
Within minutes, the gunslingers enter, surround the Stranger, and attempt to lay hands on him. He surprises them with his gun drawn and ready, masked by the apron the barber had tied around his neck. He shoots all three dead in seconds. Impressed, a dwarf named Mordecai approaches from the saloon and lights the Stranger’s cigar. “What did you say your name was again?” the dwarf asks. “I didn’t,” the Stranger replies.
Only as the Stranger is leaving the town, the next day, is the question of his identity addressed â€” cryptically. He passes Sarah, who is packing her suitcases into a wagon on which she herself will be leaving; then he passes Mordecai, who is at the cemetery. Apparently at the Strangerâ€™s instruction, Mordecai is just finishing the inscription on a grave marker. “I never did know your name,” Mordecai says. “Yes, you do,” the Stranger replies. As the Stranger continues on, a reverse angle reveals that the marker bears the name of Marshal Jim Duncan â€” “Rest in Peace.” The Stranger rides away, fading into the shimmering horizon whence he came.