Clint Eastwood is firmly locked in on the Mount Rushmore of the Western genre. One could easily make an argument that he belongs on the Mount Rushmore of the action and dramatic genres as well. The man is just a force of nature. Every project he is in feels like a passion project and as far as I’m concerned, if you can’t do something you’re passionate about then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
I was weened on Westerns as a kid. My father loved them and my early love for history began after watching John Wayne in various historical films like The Alamo and The Longest Day. Actors like Eastwood and films like The Outlaw Josey Wales shaped my love for history and my dad helped teach that me that dying for the right reason is better than living for the wrong one.
1- Filming for the Outlaw Josey Wales began in the late autumn. Eastwood’s favorite time of the year to shoot Westerns. Pale Rider (1985) and Unforgiven (1992) were also shot in the fall. He felt the dying leaves and cool weather offered the best background for his somber style of Western.
2- Clint’s 6 year old son Kyle plays Josey’s son in the opening scene.
3 . The story was filmed in Utah, Arizona, and California over an 8 1/2 week time period.
4- According to legend, this movie is based on the life of Thomas Atticus Hawkins, a Missouri farmer from Maries County.
5- Josey has a body count of 55 in this film. It’s Eastwood’s second highest body count in any of his movies. The highest is in Where Eagles Dare (1968).
6- The Indian village in the film was built in Utah. The Natives in the movie are played much less stereotypical than in many other Westerns of the day. It’s often spoken of favorably by Native tribes for not going with the cliches that most other Westerns followed.
7- Actor Matt Clark plays the bartender who serves Josey in Santa Rio. He also played the bartender who served Marty McFly in Back to the Future III. If you remember, Marty went by the name “Clint Eastwood”.
8- Chief Dan George was 76 during filming. Clint had seen him in only one movie but claims he had a “great face”. George had trouble remembering his lines so Clint would tell him the lines and instead of having him repeat the lines on film, George would just naturally tell the story as he would to a friend. It ended up working brilliantly.
9- Eastwood took over as director after 10 days of shooting. He still finished the film 8 days early.
10- This was the first of six movies made by real-life couple Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke. Rumor was that Eastwood took over the director’s chair after a dispute with the original director (Phillip Kaufman) when the two of them had asked Locke out on a date on the same night. No matter the reason, Eastwood would eventually finish the film as director and he and Locke would become an item for over a decade.