copyright 2004, Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media
Jump Cut, No. 47

Pale Rider
Environmental politics, Eastwood style

by Joseph K. Heumann and Robin L. Murray

They just literally mow the mountains away, you know, the trees and everything… all that was outlawed in California some years ago, and they still do it in Montana and a few places.” (Eastwood quoted in “turnerclassicmovies.com”).[1]

It was outlawed way back, even before ecological concerns were as prevalent as they are today. So we play on that in the film. It’s kind of an ecological statement. (Eastwood quoted in Frayling 135).

Instead of focusing only on classic western conflicts, Clint Eastwood’s 1985 remake of Shane, Pale Rider highlights and critiques the consequences of 1850s-1880’s corporate mining and, perhaps, its continued repercussions into the 1980s. Unlike any other Eastwood Western, Pale Rider provides its audience with a clear vision of the environmental horrors hydraulic mining causes, even including a detailed description of the technique, while showing the devastating results of a great engineering feat. Deep into the film, Josh LaHood, the corporate miner’s son (Christopher Penn) explains how he and his men are able to thrust 200 hundred pounds of pressure per square inch of water at the side of a mountain, a process called hydraulic mining.

Josh LaHood describes the process to fourteen-year-old Megan Wheeler, a prospector’s daughter. His detailed description of this mining technique engineered around 1850 is juxtaposed with images of falling trees and soil devastated by the water shooting out of monitors, the water cannons used to strip the hills of topsoil and growth to make the gold beneath easier to find. According to Josh LaHood,

“About three quarters of a mile upstream we diverted half of Cobalt Creek. See it flows through a ditch along the contours of the slope and ends up about a hundred yards up yonder….It flows into … a three foot pipe and then flows down slope real steep. And then that narrows to a two-foot pipe. And then a one foot pipe. You see all the time that water’s flowing downstream, it picks up speed. And it picks up force by going into the thinner pipes….By the time the water reaches the monitor, I’ve got about 200 pounds of pressure per square inch. I can blast that gravel out of that cliff and then it washes into the bed and then it travels right through the sluice.”

While looking at the land around her, Megan tells Josh, “It looks like hell.” But Josh is only interested in the product of the degradation: “You know I can get 20 tons of gravel a day in this river,” he says. Seconds later, while the audience watches hydraulic monitors shooting water at the cliffs above the Yuba River, in an obvious parallel to what is happening to the landscape, Josh attempts to rape Megan. Josh fails only because Preacher, Clint Eastwood’s character, saves her.

This scene from Pale Rider introduces one of its most important themes: the exploitation of the environment and of those most connected to it. Although this theme is prevalent mining films like How Green Was My Valley, it is missing in any other Eastwood Western. In fact, Pale Rider is the only film directed by Eastwood that focuses on such an issue. Pale Rider not only examines how the environment can be exploited, it also takes the time to demonstrate a better way, an alternative to the absolute destruction of large scale corporate mining centered around the fact of hydraulic mining. Just as Preacher saves Megan, the individual miners, “tin pans,” can save the land from LaHood, the mining baron, and his environmentally devastating methods.

Pale Rider, however, not only problematizes corporate mining techniques, suggesting that the corporation should be obliterated. It provides a viable solution to the consequences of hydraulic mining—individual tin panning in a cooperative community seeking to plant roots and raise families. In contrast to LaHood and his greed for gold, for individual miners like Hull Barret and Spider Conway, “Gold ain’t what [they’re] about” (Pale Rider). But the film goes further, offering a political solution to the environmental destruction threatened by hydraulic mining interests.

This solution in Pale Rider has not received any detailed examination. Extreme violence is the ultimate solution offered in Pale Rider, and while it is couched in mythological terms similar to High Plains Drifter, the inclusion of Hull Barret in the mayhem and killing keeps the environmental argument grounded in the here and now and provides for an alternative to the “progressive” model of the Western, as defined by Richard Slotkin. Instead, the resolution of Pale Rider harks back to The Outlaw Josie Wales (1976) where, according to Slotkin, Josie forgives his enemy with the claim,

“All of us died a little in that damn war” (633).

It also prefigures the anti-revenge themes in Eastwood’s critically acclaimed Unforgiven (1992) and Mystic River (2003). Although violence does provide “regeneration” (Slotkin’s word) in Pale Rider, it ultimately serves both a working class community and the natural world that sustains it.

Brief history of hydraulic mining

According to Ken Huie, a park ranger in Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park,

“Hydraulic mining was born and raised here in California….And no matter what you think of the result, it was a tremendous engineering feat” (Keister).

Huie oversees a park in the Sierra Nevada mountain range where the topography wears the mark of hydraulic mining from the 1850s to the 1880s, a mining technique so effective it was used in areas all over the western United States. According to Edwin Kiester, Jr.,

“Hydraulic mining applied a simple method familiar to all who’ve used a garden hose. Direct a forceful stream of water at the earth, and it will carve a ditch and carry away loosened soil.”

To create a large scale mining system,

“Engineers built a network of reservoirs, lakes, ditches and flumes extending as far as 40 miles to catch every precious drop of rain or Sierra snowmelt. Propelled by gravity along a vertical drop of up to 500 feet, the captured waters converged into a single, powerful stream. Then they were fed into water cannons trained on the gold-bearing hillside” (Kiester).

 In Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, these cannons are on display. Huie explains,

“A single monitor [water cannon] with an eight-inch nozzle like this could direct 16,000 gallons of water a minute….It could tear away 4000 cubic yards of earth from the hillside every day” (quoted in Kiester).

And debris resulting from such destructive mining was dumped into the Yuba river, so tainted water flowed into the Feather River, the Sacramento and even San Francisco Bay (Kiester). The Yuba River became so contaminated that

“The mine’s operator, North Bloomfield Gravel Mining, lost a lawsuit in January 1884 for polluting the Yuba River with tailings that caused massive floods in previous years” (Kiester).

It seems self-evident, then, that hydraulic mining hurt not only the environment—the mountains bared by water—but also the economic welfare of those flooded out by the dammed rivers and streams.

In 1850, Edward G. Buffum, a member of the Seventh Regiment of the New York State Volunteers who spent six months in the gold mines, saw hydraulic mining as a way to provide such economic development,

“to offer to the oppressed and down-trodden of the whole world an asylum, and a place whereby honest industry, which will contribute as much to our wealthy as their prosperity; they can build themselves happy homes and live like freemen” (138).

According to Buffum, hydraulic mining offered

“an immense field for the investment of capital throughout the world, and for the employment of a large portion of its labouring [sic] population” (141).

A frequent binary:
“big guys against little guys” in Pale Rider

Such an attitude about nature, and about the environmental costs of mining, is also reflected by films of the Western genre where mining, especially mining by individuals, is romanticized and corporate mining like hydraulic mining is denigrated only if it interferes with the economic progress of the individual miner. Westerns like Badlanders (1958),The Far Country (1955) and The Bend of the River (1952), however, fail to examine environmental degradation accompanying corporate mining. Only the corporate barons’ impact on the individual is called into question. Pale Rider places environmental concerns at the forefront, with a corporate baron agreeing with Buffum’s argument about hydraulic mining’s potential and an avenging angel agreeing with the park ranger’s. The binary is established between the evil LaHood and the good Preacher, but Hull Barret and his community complicate and, perhaps, deconstruct the binary established between LaHood and Preacher by offering an alternative to both.

The opening to Pale Rider immediately establishes a classic binary between good and evil found in Westerns like Shane, where cattle barons resist the inclusion of small farmers into their open range, by contrasting the pristine forested Sawtooth Mountains with the thunderous riders, who disrupt the peace nature represents. Lennie Niehaus’s score heightens the threatening effect of what we discover are LaHood’s men, who aim to invade the small miners’ village and drive them out.

The pounding of these riders is also contrasted with the laughter of the families in the village where small miners carefully pan for gold in the clear water of a stream. LaHood’s riders disturb the tranquility of the small miners’ village, destroying homes as they tear through, even going so far as to kill a cow and Megan’s pet dog. LaHood’s riders clash with the small miners and the natural world represented by the mountains, the stream and the village animals. But nature also serves as the space in which the avenging Preacher is summoned, when Megan Wheeler prays for a miracle over her dog’s grave. The first few minutes of the film, then, set up good and evil elements in the film: the good stewards of nature—Preacher and the small miners—stand out against nature’s destroyers—LaHood and his men.

Images of the clear stream nurturing the small miners are reinforced by the quiet tranquility, both visual and aural, of Carbon Canyon and by Hull Barret’s attitude toward a large rock in the creek bed that he believes holds gold. According to Barret, “If I could split that rock there, there’d be gold underneath.” But in spite of his faith in the rock’s holdings, Barret chooses not to blow up the rock because of the degradation it would cause to the stream: “Well, I thought of drilling and blasting the son of a gun, but you know, uh, that would…,” Barret begins. And Preacher finishes his thought, “That would wreck the stream, wouldn’t it.” Barret agrees, saying, “Yea, the stream would be dammed up….be the end of everything.” Even though these small miners dig for gold, they refuse to destroy the stream in order to attain it, choosing instead to sustain nature so it can sustain them. In fact, the small miners continue gold panning instead of evolving to more “productive” but destructive techniques common in the 1850s like the two-man rocker, the two-man Long Tom or the sluice box (“Hydraulic Mining in California”). According to Richard Schickel,

“These peaceful souls are presented in the film almost as a hippie commune” (403).

Coy LaHood and his men, on the other hand, strip the earth of all of its wealth. Juxtaposed with scenes of Barret and Preacher hammering communally on the rock are images of a train bringing LaHood back from Sacramento, where he had sought to obtain control of the small miners’ claims. The discussion Coy LaHood has with his son, Josh, and one of his gunmen, McGill, emphasizes their destructive mining techniques and their greed for gold at any cost. The corporate miners led by LaHood “play out” vein after vein of gold, in the “number five shaft” and “down in Cobalt Canyon” (Pale Rider). And, according to Josh LaHood, they “went another 20 foot down twelve shaft and pulled out nothin’ but magnetite and shut her down.” After excavating almost all of the gold on his own property, LaHood only wants more.

In a desperate search for more gold, wealth, and complete control, LaHood not only sends riders to intimidate the small miners and take over Carbon Canyon. He also tries (and fails) to intimidate legislators in Sacramento to sign over the small miners’ claims. According to Coy LaHood, “Sacramento ain’t worth moose piss” because, legislators there “didn’t sign the writ.” The scene does not stop with this blow to “the big guys.” It also makes a blatant environmental statement when Coy LaHood exclaims, “Some of those bastard politicians want to do away with hydraulic mining altogether. Raping the land, they call it.” (See Annette Kolodny’s The Lay of the Land for further such examples.) Even LaHood realizes the consequences of governmental intervention in his mining business, but he responds from his own avaricious perspective:

“We’ve gotta move on Carbon and move fast, ’cause the way the wind’s blowin’, another couple of years, we may be out of business.”

LaHood’s greedy proclamations are contrasted with the small miners’ cooperative stewardship of nature. After Preacher runs off Josh LaHood and his oversized lackey, Club, Barret and Preacher, with the help of other community members, finish splitting the big boulder on which they had been hammering, and later on Barret discovers a large gold nugget beneath it. Such a scene in most Westerns would provide the motivation for at least a spark of greed in the other miners, so they would invade Barret’s rock in search for more gold. Instead, Barret shows his nugget to Preacher, to Sarah, his fiancée, and to Megan, her daughter and the four go to town to pay the community’s debts. The other miners go on with their own mining efforts without much comment. Only Spider’s sons respond, chasing the wagon and wishing they too could go to town. The four ounce gold nugget inspires a family outing, communal responsibility in the form of debt paying, and continued work, not greedy arguments and bloodshed. Later in the film, Spider’s “payday come” (Barret). He finds a gold-filled stone as big as his head. But the community again shows no real emotional response, maintaining their labors but demonstrating no feelings of greed. As Sarah puts it, it’s “his turn.” Spider and his sons, just like Barret, celebrate by going to town, even though their stone appears after LaHood dynamited the river and dammed up the communal stream.

The communal trust the small miners have established becomes most evident when they’re discussing the $1000.00 a claim LaHood offers them after a negotiation in his office with Preacher, as a last effort to legally seize Carbon Canyon before bringing in a gun-slinging mercenary and his deputies to kill Preacher and run the small miners out. Hull Barret intervenes when it sounds like the rest of the small miners wish to take the offer and avoid trouble:

“Startin fresh sounds good when you’re in trouble. but before we, uh, vote, uh, and pack up and leave, I think we oughta ask ourselves why we’re here. ‘Cause if it’s no more than money, then we’re no better than LaHood himself….If any of us turned up $1000.00 of nuggets, would he quit? Hell no. He’d build his family a better house and, uh, buy his kids better clothes. They’d build a school or a church. If we were farmers we’d be planting crops. If we raised cattle, we’d be tending them, but we’re miners, so we dig and pan, and break our backs for gold, but gold ain’t what we’re about….I came out here to raise a family. This is my home. This is my dream. I sunk roots here.”

Barret and the other small miners have built a community in Canyon Creek that they wish to maintain, so they need to sustain the creek and canyon that nourish. Barret sees small mining as a means to an end—building a family and a community with schools and churches—not as a quest for gold, money, and the power it represents.

Coy LaHood, on the other hand, hauls out as much gold as possible as quickly as he can for the money and power it provides. After failing to bribe Preacher with a town church and a full collection plate, LaHood defines his own mission, owning and controlling everything rather than joining a community of individuals with agency:

“I opened this country. I made this town what it is. I bought jobs and industry. I built an empire with my own hands, and I’ve never asked help from anyone. Those squatters, Reverend, are standing in the way of progress.”

For LaHood, the land is meant to own and exploit, not to sustain for future family members:

“What’s mine’s mine, and if you make me fight for it, I will.”

Coy LaHood sees himself as representing progress, but it’s a destructive progress meant only for LaHood and his followers. Individual miners who sustain the environment are standing in the way of progress, are squatters who should be “run out” or paid off, so the canyon can be stripped of all of its wealth without delay. In fact, they must be destroyed, as Marshall Stockburn and his deputies destroy Spider and his gold stone when Spider and his sons come to town to celebrate their good luck.

Barret and the small miners, then, are clearly established as law-abiding, ethical, and community-minded (good) “little guys,” and Coy LaHood and his followers counter them as evil corporate “big guys,” who take what they want at any cost. This story, as Eastwood suggests, is nothing new for Westerns. The environmental message the film nearly shouts out, however, sets Pale Rider apart from all Eastwood directed films.

The film, then, endorses both community values associated with the small miners and sustainable development illustrated by their less invasive mining techniques. To do this, it first argues strongly against extreme mining techniques associated with a “fair use” philosophy that justifies exploiting all natural resources on one’s own property. LaHood and his men follow a fair use philosophy, taking extreme measures to extract minerals quickly and without thought to maintaining the land for future generations. As a testament against extreme environmental exploitation, the film highlights the degradation caused by LaHood’s hydraulic mining techniques with three focused scenes and two explanations of the process and its results: one from Hull Barret and one already mentioned from Josh LaHood, the mining baron’s son.

Images of hydraulic mining:
a contemporary environmental message

The film’s introduction to LaHood’s mining camp provides the first demonstration of the consequences of hydraulic mining techniques. This scene shows viewers the procedure without explanation, emphasizing the power of water pressure coming from the hydraulic cannons (monitors). The scene begins with a long shot of these powerful streams of water and then, a few shots later, shows these torrents stripping the hillside of all life, with the blare of the rushing water reverberating everywhere. The scene establishes a new setting—LaHood’s camp—but it also illustrates both the amount of water pressure the procedure creates and the environmental devastation this shooting water produces.

The visual introduction to hydraulic mining is followed by the film’s first explanation of the process, this time from the perspective of a small miner, Hull Barret in a discussion with Preacher. According to Barret, “Coy LaHood came up here in ’54 or ’55… [and was] the first man to strike it rich.” Barret seems to have no objection to LaHood’s luck, but Barret’s tone changes when he talks about LaHood’s current methods:

“Last couple of years he’s been using them hydraulic monitors….blasts the place to hell.”

Barret’s description of the results of hydraulic mining are juxtaposed with images of the clear stream where the small miners work less intrusively, a stark contrast to the lifeless shots of the stripped hills in the previous scene. Barret’s conversation with Preacher also reveals the small miners’ legal right to Carbon Canyon, not LaHood’s. Barret makes clear,

“The only way he can take this land legally is if we leave it.”

The destruction caused by LaHood’s mining methods is introduced and explained thoroughly enough to reveal the film’s not so subtle environmental message against extreme environmental exploitation, a message heightened by LaHood’s greed for more land to exploit, ownership of Carbon Canyon.

The second scene showing viewers the effects of hydraulic mining occurs after the small miners have voted to reject LaHood’s offer of $1000.00 per claim. When Preacher rides into the hydraulic mining camp to pass the vote results on to LaHood, the film shows even more of the destruction caused by pressurized water shooting out of monitors. Instead of showing only soil stream off of the hillsides, after a long shot of the water shooting cannons similar to those in the introductory scene, the film lets us see trees falling off of the hillside along with the eroding earth. The scene also reveals the first clear sign LaHood receives from the small miners that his methods are failing. They reject his offer. Environmental degradation in LaHood’s camp parallels the destruction he causes after he learns about the small miners’ vote and blasts the creek, damming it up. The film here shows us immediately how devastating one blast can be, as the rippling creek dries up and narrows to one small stream of water.

Figurative and literal rape

The third and arguably most powerful scene set in LaHood’s hydraulic mining camp provides us with images of the shooting monitors and their devastating consequences as well as a detailed explanation of the process, an engineering feat highlighted by the noise of the pressurized water in the background, a noise so loud Megan declares, “It hurts my ears.” Here the audience watches the monitors from Megan’s point of view, since she has ridden into camp and toward Josh LaHood to defy Preacher (who has rejected her love) and her mother. Megan’s gaze aligns with her words: “It looks like hell.” We have already recorded Josh’s description of the hydraulic mining process, a description that highlights only the wealth it provides him and his father.

But “raping the land,” as they called it in Sacramento, is lined up with raping a woman—Megan—in this scene. The parallels between the two “rapes” are underlined because LaHood’s men leave their water cannons to watch the rape and cheer it on, just as they watched the rape of the landscape caused by those same cannons. So when Preacher rescues Megan by shooting first Josh’s gun and then his hand, the film shows us what methods are needed to stop both the literal and the figurative rapes.

A solution to “fair use”:
sustainable development and “monkey wrench” violence

The small miners’ community and the environment it sustains cannot survive unless Preacher and the small miners resort to force. These scenes, then, demonstrate the film’s first environmental argument—that extreme methods like hydraulic mining are too devastating to the environment and should be replaced by the more gentle methods of the small miners, who seek to sustain their canyon for future generations. But the film highlights the strength of the myth of sustainable development as an alternative to fair use techniques like hydraulic mining not only by illustrating the more positive results of panning in an undammed stream; it also offers a viable (if violent) way to eliminate corporate mining and the greedy baron controlling it.

Here the film complicates the simple binary between good and evil prevalent in contemporary Westerns: In order to save the land and their community, Eastwood and the small miners’ representative, Hull Barret, must visit on the corporation the same destruction as LaHood inflicted on the small miners and the environment a difference from Shane, where Shane eliminates Joe’s participation in a fistfight. After LaHood’s marshal and his deputies mutilate Spider (who had gone to town only with his sons), Preacher clarifies the small miners’ mission:

“A man alone is easy prey... Only by standing together will you beat the LaHoods of the world.”

The next morning when Preacher rides off to take on LaHood and his men alone, it seems that he’s negating his claim about the need for community, but Barret accompanies him, representing the communal spirit Preacher had forged. As stewards, the small miners learn that they must protect themselves, their families, and the environment using any means possible, including violence. Preacher is loaded down with dynamite, so he and Barret are able to blow up LaHood’s mining camp, the hydraulic mine’s cannons, and its infrastructure, returning water to its source.

This last scene of LaHood’s camp occurs at sunrise, before the workers have risen, so the cannons lie dormant, and the remaining hillside is uninjured. In this scene, no men are killed. They all escape from the blasted tents and out-buildings, but the mining operation is destroyed when Preacher and Barret finish their work. Since Preacher does not work alone, it seems that the small miners and Preacher stand together to beat LaHood until Barret picks up a stick of dynamite that Preacher drops, and Preacher chases Barret’s horse away. Preacher explains,

“You’re a good man, Barret. You take care of Sarah and the girl.”

The suggestion here is that Preacher will destroy the marshal, his deputies, and LaHood without assistance, extracting the personal revenge to which the film has alluded since Preacher’s arrival. Preacher has prepared for his confrontation with Marshal Stockburn. When Preacher arrives in town, his image seems to be superimposed on that of LaHood, since he is reflected in the window out of which LaHood peers. And the marshal seems stunned when he first recognizes Preacher and exclaims, “You!” It seems, then, that Preacher will kill off LaHood and his men as a sole gunman, an avenging angel seeking retribution for the wrongs Marshal Stockburn had committed.

Preacher easily kills Stockburn’s deputies one by one in ghost style, able to appear and disappear at will—demonstrating his supernatural status. And he faces Marshal Stockburn in the street, in a showdown scene as old as western films. It appears, then, that Preacher has taken on LaHood and his gang without Barret and the community he represents. But after Preacher shoots the marshal in the same six places in which he’d been shot—and then one more time in the head—LaHood appears by his office window, this time with a Winchester rifle in hand. We see him from Barret’s point of view. Barret has arrived on foot, and he kills LaHood. In this way, LaHood is killed by a human agent, Barret, the nominal leader of the sustainable community who represents its values: the community can’t wait for the law to stop something this destructive. The Preacher is now on his horse and, looking at Barret, simply says with a smile, “Long walk.” Barret replies with his own smile and a laconic, “Yep.”

Pale Rider, then, argues for sustainable development as an alternative to extreme fair use methods like hydraulic mining in several ways. It demonstrates that hydraulic mining is wrong, moving beyond mere historical accuracy. It even shows us that the government in Sacramento is against it, so that when Coy LaHood tries to sway legislators and fails, he recognizes that he’ll have to shut down his corporate mines in a couple of years. But when LaHood’s reaction is to extract as much wealth as possible before he’s put out of business, without thought to the environmental consequences, the film combines the elements of Eastwood’s other Westerns with an environmental message. A Preacher, called from nature, must implement vigilante justice to stop LaHood’s desperate devastation of the environment. Such a clear and strong environmental message deserves serious examination, especially since Eastwood “made a point of discussing the environmental subtext of Pale Rider with Todd McCarthy of Variety” ( McGilligan 377) at the Cannes Film Festival where it was screened in 1985.

Thus like other western films, Pale Rider deals with a contemporary set of political problems by placing it into a particular past. In this case, Eastwood interrogates ecological devastation caused by fair use politics by placing a symbol of the problem, hydraulic mining, in its contemporary setting, the mid-1800s. And the film feeds off of the Man With No Name persona and employs the revenge theme from other Eastwood Westerns. A gun is also the best way to deal with political problems. Since the environment will be destroyed before politics can legally stop it—there is no functioning legal system in the town—it must be dealt with extra-legally through an avenging spirit who comes literally from nature to protect the community and the environment while gaining revenge on his murderers. Ultimately, Pale Rider makes a contemporary environmental argument against fair use and for sustainable development, an argument with continuing relevance in light of lawsuits in Montana over open-pit mining and the aftereffects of hydraulic mining and other destructive mining techniques like those using cyanide and arsenic to better extract minerals.[2]

The end of Pale Rider reinforces this argument. After Preacher and Barret destroy the corporate mining camp and kill off all its leaders, unlike High Plains Drifter or Unforgiven, the Eastwood films to which Pale Rider is most often compared, the focus is placed not only on Eastwood’s Man With No Name—Preacher—but also on the representatives of the small miners’ community—Barret and Megan. Preacher does not ride off into a desolate desert after looking back on a town he had destroyed. Instead, Preacher, a representative of the natural world, rides off into the Sawtooth Mountains on his pale horse and disappears into the snow, a sign that he has returned to the natural world from which he had been summoned. Barret and Megan, on the other hand, ride back to their village, presumably prepared to build the school and church for which they strive.

The last message of the film centers on love and community, with Megan’s declaration of love for Preacher and her proclamation that the whole community loves him, too. The revenge cycle has been completed, and vigilante justice has been achieved. Yet something new emerges in Pale Rider: a call to action that serves not only violent ends but also environmental conservation. When Barret kills LaHood, he also eradicates LaHood’s fair use politics that destroy the environment that Barret and his community wish to sustain.

Notes

1. Montana outlawed hydraulic mining in 1972. Montana’s 1972 Constitution provides protection for the environment in Article IX, sections 1-4, especially. Section 1 states that “the state and each person shall maintain and improve a clean and healthful environment in Montana for present and future generations” and that “the legislature shall provide adequate remedies for protection of the environmental life support system.” Section 2 centers on reclaiming “all lands disturbed by the taking of natural resources,” and section 3 on water rights, where “the legislature shall provide for the administration, control, and regulation of water rights,” so the amount of water required by hydraulic mining techniques would be all but impossible to acquire. Section 4 focuses on preserving state lands for “use and enjoyment by the people.”

2. Time Magazine ran an article on September 25, 1995 documenting the presence of arsenic in old Montana and California mines. In Montana, Crown Butte is attempting to mine for gold under protest, “in spite of Crown Butte’s promise not to harm the area surrounding the mines in their projected 10-15 year life-span.” One of their opponents, “Jim Barrett, chairman of the anti-mine Beartooth Alliance” declared, “When [the company] gets the gold, they’ll be gone, but we will be here tomorrow. We will suffer forever.” However, the Crown Butte mining project was on federal lands outside Montana’s control, and Crown Butte mining, as of 2002, has failed to acquire these lands. Legal battles are still in play regarding the use of cyanide to extract minerals in Montana, as well.

Works cited

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Beard, William. Persistence of Double Vision: Essays on Clint Eastwood. Alberta: University of Alberta Press, 2000.

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Crouch, Craig E. “Hydraulic Mining in California.” Hydraulic Mining—CPRR Photographic History Museum.
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Frayling, Christopher. “Eastwood on Eastwood.” Kapsis, Robert E. and Coblentz, Kathie. Clint Eastwood: Interviews. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1999: 130-136.

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accessed August 10, 2003.

Greenswald, John. “Arsenic and Old Mines: As Montanans Battle a New Gold Rush, Californians are Dealing with the Poisonous Legacy of the Past. Time. September 25, 1995: 36.

Jones, Mary Ellen, Editor. The American Frontier: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1994.

Kapsis, Robert E. and Coblentz, Kathie. Clint Eastwood: Interviews. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1999.

Kiester, Edwin Jr. “Turning Water to Gold: Confronted with a Hill Full of Gold, Miners Removed the Hill and the Gold—and Left a Mess Behind. Smithsonian. August 1999: 18.

Kolodny, Annette. Lay of the Land.

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