Movie Review: 3:10 to Yuma (1957)

Synopsis: When a drought threatens to cost Dan Evans his ranch, he quickly agrees to accept $200 and escort captured outlaw Ben Wade to Contention City and put him on board the 3:10 train to Yuma. However, Wade's gang is determined to set their leader free and, with the town drunk being the only one willing to help, the odds of Dan completing his task alive are slim.

Who's in it? The movie stars Glenn Ford, Van Heflin, Felicia Farr, Henry Jones and Robert Emhardt.


Review: This film has been on one of our movie channels on multiple occasions but, every time I've attempted to watch it, I always managed to get interrupted and, because of that, never made it past the first few minutes.

I was, however, able to find the time to finally watch this film in its entirety this past weekend. Unfortunately, I don't think it was as enjoyable as I was expecting it to be.

Overall, I liked the plot of this film. Dan (Heflin) is a reluctant gunman who only takes the job escorting Ben Wade (Ford) because he needs the money. But, like all true western/cowboy heroes, he eventually becomes determined to finish his task even as the odds become increasingly stacked against him and the banker who hired him even offers to pay him the $200 to encourage him to walk away.

The problem I had with this film is it never really reached the potential I thought it had. One hero facing off against a small army of outlaws sounds exciting and, because of that, I was fully expecting this to be the traditional "shoot-'em-up western. Instead, the movie builds up a lot of hype but, ultimately, only a few shots were fired.

In fact, the movie seemed to be doing its best to avoid violence. Wade's gang had Dan seriously outnumbered and pinned inside a hotel. Yet, rather than simply rushing in, knowing he would never be able to take all of them, they chose to hang back. Not to mention, Dan's wife (Leora Dana) rode into town unmolested. You would think a gang of ruthless outlaws would have jumped at the chance to take her hostage and exchange her for their leader.

I also felt like the movie intended to give Wade more of a backstory than it did. There were plenty of clues indicating there was more to him than the film was showing but, at the same time, he seemed to lack any real depth for a main character.

This actually comes into play at the end of the movie too, with him inexplicably deciding to help Dan at the last second. In fact, without going into to much detail and giving spoilers, I kind of hated the ending, which had the two men seeming like they were suddenly friends or, at very least, on pleasant terms with each other. It honestly didn't make a whole lot of sense given the events (and speeches) leading up to it.

Final Opinion: When it was all said and done, I didn't hate the movie. But, I do think the 2007 remake was better.

My Grade: C

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