Dan Evans is going to lose his farm. A bad drought worsened by his creditor redirecting the river that ran through his farm makes it nigh impossible to pay his dues, let alone afford his ill son's medication. His luck is about to change though, but for better or worse is hard to tell. Not far away, stage coach robber Ben Wade is pulling off another successful heist against a bank coach. Dan and his sons are witness to it, and manage to walk away alive and
with Wade generously compensating
the loss of some cattle during the heist. Dan and his sons rescue one of the pinkertons (law men)
that survived and take him to town.
Wade goes to the nearby town to rest before regrouping and setting off again, but the local sheriff sets an ambush and they capture him. This was the easy part however. Since the sheriff needs volunteers to escort Wade to Yuma for a trial, Dan volunteers in order to get the money to pay for his farm. The way to Yuma will be filled with dangers, orchestrated by Wade's gang
, and perhaps most dangerously, Magnificent Bastard
A classic 1957 Western
film directed by Delmer Daves and starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin, which was in turn a film adaptation of a short story of the same name by Elmore Leonard
(his first ever published work, in fact). The film was remade
in 2007 with Russell Crowe
as Wade and Christian Bale
as Evans; this version has perhaps one of the best musical scores of the year 2007.
For those curious, the original film shares many tropes in common with the remake. However, due to the remake being a pretty significant expansion
of the elements of the original instead of a straight-up remake, there are few tropes the original has that the remake does not (unless noted).
This Film provides examples of:
- Accidental Hero: Near the end of the movie, Dan reveals he was no hero during the war. When he lost his leg, not only was it his only battle, but his outfit was forced to retreat and he was the victim of friendly fire. Everything he does to get Ben Wade on the train to Yuma is to give his kids a dad they can be proud of. Ben is impressed enough to help him for the rest of the movie.
- Actor Allusion:
- Anyone who's seen Serenity is going to find the death of Alan Tudyk's character in the remake awfully reminiscent of Wash's.
- Viewers of LOST may be reminded by Tucker's demise of evil mercenary Martin Keamy's death.
- Adaptation Expansion: Textbook example, the remake reuses a lot of dialogue with many scenes being virtually identical, so much in fact that they gave the writer of the original a co-writer credit even though he died a long time ago. But the remake also adds a lot of content expanding on several characters, adding more and fleshing out the journey. The ending's also changed, though.
- Affably Evil: Ben Wade, who is dangerously charming.
- The Alcoholic: Potter in the original
- Ambiguously Gay: Charlie "Princess" in the remake. Definitely not helped by his shrill voice, immaculate dress sense, the way he struts and cat walks, the fact that he wears eye liner, and his incredibly obvious crush on his boss.
- Anyone Can Die
- Behind the Black: Dan really ought to be able to see the train from miles off, given the flat terrain and the fact that it's, ya know, a train. But it's kept off camera to make the finale more dramatic.
- Breaking Out the Boss
- Chekhov's Gun: Wade's gun is said to be cursed to anyone who touches it except him. Tucker takes it from him, and is killed by Wade. The rail-road posse take it later, and are in turn killed by Charlie Prince. At the climax scene after Dan's death, Ben's gang pass the gun to him, but only after every single one of them has touched it. Remember the curse?
- Cardboard Prison: After volunteering to help Dan do everything possible to get him on the train that will take him to Yuma prison, Ben Wade makes a little confession: he's already escaped from Yuma. Twice.
- Chinese Laborer
- Cold Sniper: The "Mexican sharpshooter" in Wade's gang.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Averted, Butterfield the banker isn't going to win any personality contests, but he was hardly a Pointy-Haired Boss or willing to force Dan to fight suicidal odds in the end.
- Death Glare: Ben Wade gives several in the movie. The most impressive one is probably the one given to his whole gang after Charlie shoots Dan. The second Charlie sees the look he starts reaching for his guns. It doesn't do him any good.
- Determined Homesteader: Dan Evans.
- The Dragon:
- Charlie Prince to Ben Wade.
- Tucker to Glen Hollander
- Dwindling Party: The posse escorting Wade, whose members are killed off one-by-one as the journey goes on.
- Electric Torture: A minor character whose brother was killed by Ben Wade does a version of this to Wade.
- Enemy Mine: Wade helps his captors more than once when a common enemy shows up.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The Trope Namer.
- Even Evil Has Standards: While Ben Wade is a thief and murderer, he does believe in paying back favors, treating the dead with respect, and using non-violent methods when possible.
- Fastest Gun in the West: Ben Wade.
- Flat Character: Ben Wade accuses Byron McElroy of being one.
Byron's like a song with only one note in it. You ever read a book in your life besides The Bible
Byron: No need.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: In the trailers and during the movie's climax.
- Friendly Enemy: Towards the end Wade all but fights at Dan's side, out of respect and admiration. Of course, he had escaped Yuma prison several times already.
- Gatling Good: The stagecoach has one, not that it stopped Wade's gang.
- Gay Cowboy: Charlie to Wade in the remake, the subtext practically screaming Ambiguously Gay. Charlie is even once insulted as "Charlie Princess". Given that he's a criminal, he also counts as a Gayngster.
- Green Eyes: Ben Wade is attracted to girls with green eyes. Interestingly, Alice, Evan's wife, has green eyes, making some viewers speculate that Alice was Velvet, a girl from San Francisco that Wade had previously had an affair with. Other viewers (or the same ones) even went as far as suggesting that William, Evans's son, could be indeed Ben Wade's son. It should be noted that this is unintentional from the filmmakers and that it does not appear in the original short story.
- Handicapped Badass: It's easy to forget Dan does all his stunts while wearing a prosthetic leg.
- Handy Cuffs: You'd think after the first time Wade killed a member of the party with his hands cuffed in front of him, someone would cuff them behind his back.
- Heel-Face Turn: After coming to understand why Dan is willing to die to get him on the train to Yuma, Ben Wade actually helps him to the train station, leading him through a hail of gunfire from the gunmen trying to rescue the outlaw. All so that the railroad will make good on their promise to save Dan's farm, but more importantly Dan's son can see what his father is made of. At one point Ben pulls Dan to his feet after falling so they can keep going.
- The Hero Dies: Dan himself at the end of the remake.
- Holy Hitman: Ben Wade seems to either not believe in God or dislike Him, but he can exchange Bible quotes with the best of them. This is due to his Parental Abandonment: Wade's mother gave a young Wade a Bible, sat him down, and told him she was going off to get train tickets to take them out of town and to keep reading until she got back. Three days later, he had finished from cover to back, and she never came back.
- Ignored Enamored Underling: Charlie Prince to his boss Ben Wade. Charlie is implied to be romantically attracted to Wade who never notices or reciprocates.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: During the film's climax, the gang seems to be able to hit everything except Dan and Wade.
- Injun Country
- Jerkass: Some notable examples:
- One of the posse's members, Tucker, burned down Dan's barn at the behest of his creditor and continues to go out of his way to be an asshole to Ben Wade.
- McElroy also qualifies due to his nastiness towards other characters, his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of a shackled Ben Wade, and his Offstage Villainy, which includes massacring an Indian village (men, women and children). Though McElroy's beating of Ben comes directly after Ben had just finished stabbing Tucker to death and Wade's gang did shoot him earlier so he's got plenty of good reasons to hate him.
- Kill 'em All: The entire group trying to get Wade onto the train (except Dan's son and Butterfield), and the entirety of Ben's posse.
- Live-Action Escort Mission
- Morality Pet: Zig-zagged. William tries to invoke this, telling Wade he isn't all bad. Wade casually tells William that he "wouldn't last five minutes leading an outfit like that if [he] wasn't as rotten as hell." He then kills every member in his posse when they kill Dan and gets on the train willingly, with the knowledge that he can escape from Yuma, having done so twice before. He's a complex guy.
- Nice Hat: Wade is very fond of his hat.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: When Wade manages to kill one member of the posse while everyone is asleep, Byron McElroy responds by beating the handcuffed Wade (who is also lying down on the ground) over and over with the butt of his rifle. This goes on even when the other members of the posse tell him to stop. Eventually, he has to be physically restrained from continuing the beating.
- Not That Kind of Doctor: Doc is actually a horse doctor. His surgery still manages to save McElroy.
- Parental Abandonment: Ben Wade suffered from this as a child.
- Pinkerton Detective: McElroy.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: One of the members of the main posse massacred Apache in the past, and he makes a (literally) fatal mistake when he insults Ben Wade's mother. There's also the corrupt leader of the construction camp who considers his Chinese Laborers to be animals and somehow comes across as worse than Ben and his gang.
- Rancher: Dan Evans.
- Son of a Whore: One of the robbers states Ben Wade to be the offspring of a hooker and makes the idiotic mistake of insulting dear old mom in front of him. Wade kills him and notes that he loves her anyway.
- Title Theme Tune: "There is a lonely train called the 3:10 to Yuma..."
- Too Dumb to Live: Being a Jerk Ass to a Magnificent Bastard is a very bad idea.
- Unwilling Suspension
- Vehicle Title
- Villain Exit Stage Left: Wade has apparently escaped multiple times before.
- Weapon Stomp: The stagecoach driver crawls for his shotgun but just as he gets to it, Charlie Prince steps on it.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Role reversed - Dan Evans desperately wants to earn the love and respect of his bratty, ungrateful son William, which inspires him to take Ben Wade to the train that will take him to prison (which will also provide him with some extra cash as a reward).
- Wicked Cultured: Wade has read the entirety of the Bible, and is a skilled drawer of both wildlife and humans.
- You Remind Me of X: A villainish version is done, as Wade tells Dan that William Evans (Dan's older son) reminds him of Wade in order to provoke Dan.
- Wade also makes inferences about Dan's wife, comparing her to a girl he knew in San Francisco.