America Re-Imagined, in Retrospect: Fifty Notable American Novels about the “West”: 47-48.


Tidyman, Ernest.  High Plains Drifter.  New York: Bantam, 1973.

An award-winning screenwriter, Ernest Tidyman won an Academy Award, and Edgar Award, and a Writers Guild of America Award for the screenplay of The French Connection.  He also wrote the screenplays for the film adaptations of the series of novels that he wrote about the cool Harlem detective John Shaft.  He also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of his Western novel High Plains Drifter.  Starring Clint Eastwood, the film brought the “spaghetti Western” into the cinematic mainstream and synthesized elements of the Gothic tale with the conventions of the traditional Western.

In High Plains Drifter, a mysterious stranger rides into a remote Western town and sets the whole place on edge.  Catered to by some of the townspeople who immediately recognize the palpable sense of danger that lies just underneath his laconic persona, he deals…

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