A very respectable Eastwood western. His directing skill is just as manly as his screen presence. Straight to the point with no fancy shots. His acting is very restrained and you could argue that he's not a good actor at all. Like other actors like Jack Nicholson, the man has the face of a star. Very authentic. He doesn't say much, but when he does speak it's a memorable one-liner. As director and actor Eastwood knows what is too little and what is too much, and he delivers what is necessary. He has enough confidence in the story to let it sell itself without the help of gimmicks and western cliches. The film is very dark, but Eastwood plays his character in a light-hearted way, when he's not in a violent confrontation or witnessing something tragic, and there's a lot of violence and tragedy in this movie. It paints a very hellish picture of the old west. Some characters are even traumatized. Everyone who joins Eastwood has some emotional damage and have lost everything. The depressing nature of the movie makes the finale feel all the more triumphant because once you've made it that far you might be feeling a little angry at the world and how cruel it can be.