Some people claim there are only two real plots in story telling. The first is "We're going on a journey," wherein group or individual travels literally or figuratively. The second is "a stranger comes to town." Pale Rider may just be one of the prime examples of the second type.
Welcome to the basic western plot: a small group of good folks are being harassed by evil rich folks so a fighter comes to town to save the day. Hell, hole TV shows have been based on the concept. A revival of sorts, Pale Rider offers one of the more modern examples involving a somewhat darker hero, savvy villains, and hunted supernatural elements.
The man who comes to town, Preacher (Eastwood), has no qualms beating the hell out dudes that deserve it. Including beating some folks with an ax handle. It takes a few deaths, though, to get him to go pull his weapons from a safety deposit box. That causes the bad guy to hire even worse men to go on the hunt.
All people talk about for this movie is the supernatural stuff, though. Is the preacher an avenging angel or ghost come to save a town when he could not save his own? The title and the random religious reading about death riding a pale horse say so, especially that Preacher has the same bullet wounds on his back that he gives to the super evil guy. Makes you think.
Check this one out. As a member of the western genre, it holds up well and could get some discussion going as to whether or not anyone should give a shit about Clint Eastwood as an old man.