The legendary leader of a ruthless gang of outlaws. After his most recent robbery, Wade is captured by chance and must be escorted to the town of Contention so he can be placed on the 3:10 train to Yuma to be hanged.
- Affably Evil: Wade might be ruthless to the very core, but he's also a very charming and polite man. From time to time, he's even sincere.
- Anti-Villain: Defied. When William points out he's not as bad as he said he is, he claims to have been acting out of Pragmatic Villainy. However, he does plant himself into this territory when he kills his gang for their brutal murder of Dan.
- Badass in Charge: Wade is the unquestioned leader of his gang and an extremely dangerous man capable of gunning down his entire gang before they have a chance to react.
- Badass Bookworm: Wade is both a formidable opponent and a well-read man.
- Berserk Button:
- Don't insult his mother. He'll throw you off a cliff.
- Don't insult the mother of anyone he's come to respect. His gang found that out the hard way.
- Big "NO!": When Charlie guns down Dan. It's not long, just loud.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Wade taunts Boles while at his mercy, claiming that Boles' brother, whom Wade had killed, was a "lyin', bilkin', double-dealin' card sharp", assuming, of course, that said brother is who Wade remembers, and not some other "asshole" he killed and forgot about.
- Dark Is Evil: Ben Wade wears dark clothes, has a black hat, has a black horse, and a black-handled pistol. He's also a ruthless outlaw leader.
- Deadpan Snarker: Wade sure is a witty son-of-a-bitch; one of his first lines is to crack a joke to the critically wounded Byron McElroy."Well, would you look at all this? You all spared no expense this time, Byron. I gotta say, though, it's probably cheaper just to let me rob the damn thing."
- Death Glare: The look in his eyes when he's about to shoot someone is so potent that his victims recognize it and (futilely) try to counter the coming attack.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He's the Trope Namer.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Ben Wade is a thief and murderer, but he believes in paying back favors, treating the dead with respect, and using non-violent methods when possible.
- Fastest Gun in the West: He's without a doubt the quickest shot in the entire film; nobody comes close to outdrawing Ben Wade.
- Foil: To Dan. The contrast between the two men is illustrated very well in the dinner scene at the Evans' homestead; when Mark remarks that Dan could shoot Wade dead if he wanted to, Dan tells his son that shooting a man is very different than shooting an animal. Wade bluntly replies that in his experience, it isn't.
- Fork Fencing: Stabs Tucker repeatedly in the throat with a fork.
- Friendly Enemy: Wade quickly takes a liking to Dan, saving his life at a few points in the film, and even helping him escort Wade himself to the prison train.
- Hidden Depths: Wade is no mere bandit; he's a sensitive, intelligent soul, avid artist, can recite Bible verse from memory, and is far more capable of respect and kindness than his reputation woul suggest.
- 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.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: The only members of the posse he kills are Tucker and McElroy, a bully and a killer respectively. He ends the movie by gunning down the remainder of his gang, starting with Charlie, who had just killed Dan.
- Named Weapons: Wade's pistol is called the Hand of God which is said to be cursed so that anyone who touches it that isn't Wade dies. The movie supports this claim; Tucker and McElroy are both killed by Wade himself, Boles and his men are wiped out by Wade's gang, and the gang members (who pass the gun amongst themselves to return it to Wade) are gunned down by their boss after Charlie shoots Dan.
- Nice Hat: Charlie uses it to identify him during the town shootout.
- Nothing Up My Sleeve: Hides one of Dan's forks in his sleeves and uses it to kill Tucker.
- Parental Abandonment: When he was a child, his mother gave him a Bible to read at the train station and promptly left to never return.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The charming, cool-headed blue to Charlie's red.
- Son of a Whore: McElroy claims as such; Wade is angered by the comment, but doesn't deny it.
- Troll: He'll say or do things just to piss people off, like saying to Dan he'll be a better husband to Dan's wife and laughing while McElroy's hitting him.
- Villain: Exit, Stage Left: He's escaped Yuma prison several times. Presumably, he does it again at the end of the film.
- Warrior Poet: An intelligent and insightful man, Wade often draws parallels between Bible verse and situations he finds himself in, pondering the nature of such events.
- Weapon of Choice: A Colt Single Action Army "Quickdraw" (4.75) inch barrel with black grips and a gold cross on both sides called the Hand of God, which is said to be cursed so that anyone who isn't Wade touches it dies.
- Wicked Cultured: He has a strong interest in art and nature.
- You Have Failed Me: He kills Tommy Darden for getting taken as a hostage."Well, Tommy, it seems that there was a Pinkerton inside that coach that wasn't quite dead yet. Now, I know Charlie told you, because we done got but a few rules in this outfit. And this is what happens when you put us all at risk."
Ben Wade's vicious right-hand man. Deeply loyal to Wade, he leads the remaining gang in pursuit of him after Wade is captured in Bisbee.
- Ambiguously Gay: His loyalty to Wade borders on obsessive love, and he appears jealous of the young barmaid Wade sleeps with. McElroy alludes to this by mocking him as "Charlie Princess".
- Ax-Crazy: He's a trigger-happy psychotic.
- Bad Boss: Threatens one of the gang members when he suggests they abandon Wade and kills several of Contention's citizens when they almost shoot Wade during the shootout between Dan and the others.
- Bond One-Liner: "I hate posses." (after shooting the railroad enforcers).
- Determinator: Leads the gang 80 miles in chasing the party escorting Wade to Contention-on horseback.
- The Dragon: To Ben Wade.
- Dragon-in-Chief: He's the main outside antagonist.
- Face Death with Dignity: After getting shot in the heart by Wade, he does nothing to fight his fate and looks into Wade's eyes as Wade draws one of Charlie's pistols and shoots him again.
- Famous Last Words: "You know, for a one-legged rancher, he's one tough son of a bitch."
- Hero Killer: Guns down Dan as Dan and Ben reach the train. He also gunned down two Pinkertons, a lawman of Bisbee, the railroad enforcers, and the lawmen of Contention. Charlie also masterminded the deaths of Bisbee's other lawmen (one was sniped by Campos while Sutherland burned the other to death). In short, he's a walking Death by Adaptation.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Wade shoots him with his own gun.
- Hypocrite: Charlie whole-heartedly agrees with Wade's assertion that Tommy Darden brought his fate on himself. When Jackson points out that Wade's capture was his own fault, Charlie pistol-whips him.
- I Lied: Does this twice:
- He tells the decoy wagon passenger that unless he tells him where Wade is headed, he will burn, then leaves him to burn.
- Makes the lawmen of Contention surrender, then Charlie and the gang unload their guns into them.
- Kill It with Fire: Threatens to burn down Bisbee when Wade is captured."This town's gonna burn!"
- Light Is Not Good: Wears a bone-white waistcoat and is not a good person.
- Nice Hat: The crew called it the "Triggerman" during filming.
- Psycho Supporter: Charlie is incredibly loyal to Wade, but unlike his honorable and affable boss, Charlie is a violent psychopath.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The fanatical, hot-headed, trigger-happy red to Ben's blue.
- Undying Loyalty: To Ben Wade.
- The Unfettered: Nothing will stop him from freeing Wade, from an 80-mile horseback ride, having a man burnt alive, to massacring a town's lawmen even after they surrendered. The fact that he is this trope is the reason why the decoy wagon is needed.
A Mexican sharpshooter and member of Wade's gang.
- Barbarian Longhair: He's got the most head hair of Wade's gang as well. Apparently, he likes to show it off too, since he's the only member without a hat.
- Beard of Evil: He's got the most facial hair of Wade's men.
- Cold Sniper: His job within the group, which he is very good at.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Takes out one of the Gatling gunners during the stagecoach robbery and the driver of the decoy wagon when the gang ambushes it.
A young, incompetent outlaw in Wade's gang.
- Defiant Captive: When a surviving Pinkerton agent takes him hostage, Tommy just snarks "not a smart move, friend". His confidence dies out quickly when he realises that Wade is about to gun him down.
- Famous Last Words: Shit...
- Impromptu Tracheotomy: Ben Wade shoots him in the throat.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Played straight by Charlie at first, averted by Wade, who calls him 'weak' and 'stupid'.Wade: Tommy was weak. Tommy was stupid. Tommy is dead.Charlie: I'd drink to that.
- Oh, Crap!: When he sees Ben Wade's Death Glare.
- Badass Bandolier: Jorgensen wears one.
- Badass Cape: Nez's poncho.
- Beard of Evil: Every member of the gang (except for Kinter and Nez) have either this or Perma-Stubble.
- Cop Killer: Responsible for the deaths of multiple lawmen throughout the film.
- Deadpan Snarker: When they confront the railroad enforcers, Boles tells them that Ben Wade killed his brother. Sutherland's response: "Then your brother must be famous." The rest of the gang laughs.
- Fur and Loathing: Jackson wears a furry waistcoat.
- Giant Mook: Jorgensen towers over the rest of the gang.
- Kill It with Fire: Sutherland murders the decoy wagon's passenger by setting fire to it.
- Nice Hat: Most of the gang wears cowboy hats or fedoras, Sutherland has a derby, and Nez has a top hat.
- No Kill Like Overkill: Dan kills Kinter with two shotgun blasts at close range to the chest.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Jorgensen gets shot in the ear during the stage coach robbery.
- The Starscream: Jackson tries to suggest to Charlie that he (Jackson) should lead the gang, only for Charlie to beat him up and point his gun on him.Charlie: "You forgot what he (Ben) done for us."
- The Voiceless: Jorgensen, Kinter, and Nez have no lines.
- Would Hurt a Child: Wade tells William they'll kill him (William) and Dan and laugh.
A one-legged Civil War veteran barely managing to support his family on a ranch. Disrespected by his son and in dire financial trouble, he volunteers to help escort Ben Wade to Contention.
- Agony of the Feet: Averted when Dan takes a shot to the foot during the town shootout; it's his artificial foot that got shot. Played straight in his backstory, where he lost his leg.
- Berserk Button: Don't say to Dan that you'll be a better husband to her.Shut up about my wife!
- Butt-Monkey: Nothing goes right for Dan in the film. His family's struggling, the barn is burned down, his son disrespects him, he lost his leg in the only battle he ever fought in, and while he does get Ben Wade to the train, it costs him his life.
- Deadpan Snarker: After Wade escapes and Butterfield questions Dan's insistence on pursuing him, Dan replies with a dry "well, there ain't no reward for getting him halfway to that train, is there?".
- Death by Adaptation: Shot repeatedly in the chest by Charlie Prince.
- The Dog Bites Back: Attempted; after Hollander refuses to let him try and extend his loan, Dan grabs his rifle, charges into the bar and calls out for Hollander... who isn't present, although the scene does attract Wade's attention, which sets off the rest of the movie.
- Handicapped Badass: He lost his leg in the war, but it doesn't slow him down.
- The Hero Dies: Dan is gunned down by Charlie Prince just as he succeeds in getting Wade to the titular 3:10 train to Yuma.
- Honor Before Reason: When the times comes to escort Ben Wade on a suicidal trek to the train station, Dan is the only one who goes...because he feels it's his responsibility and because people have died to get him that far.
- Knight In Sour Armor: He probably doesn't want to be escorting Ben Wade, but he'll do it for the money and if it'll teach his son William to respect him.
- Rancher: His current occupation, although he's failing badly at it.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: The events of the Civil War has had an effect on him.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Uses McElroy's shotgun after the Pinkerton is killed by Wade.
- Title Drop: After finally getting Wade to the train station, Dan demands to know "where's the 3:10 to Yuma?". The train is running late.
- "Well Done, Dad!" Guy: He has a difficult relationship with his oldest son, William, who considers him a pushover who can't support the family. Eventually, William sees Dan for who he is; not a great hero, but a good and brave man.
The eldest son of Dan Evans.
- *Click* Hello: Puts a gun to Wade's head during Wade's standoff with Dan, Potter and Butterfield.
- Combat Pragmatist: Uses a herd of cattle in Contention to stampede Charlie Prince.
- The Gunfighter Wannabe: William clearly admires the quick-drawing, charismatic Ben Wade more than he does his law-abiding father.
- I Just Want to Be Badass: He's determined to prove he's stronger than his dad. When Dan asks him if he can keep his gun on Wade, William responds that he'll do it better than Dan.
- Jerkass: William starts out defiant and disrespectful towards his father, although Dan's heroism and bravery eventually win him his son's respect.
- Weapon of Choice: A Colt 1851 Navy revolver.
An agent of the Southern Pacific Railroad, it's at his behest that Ben Wade is to be escorted to Contention.
- Badass Moustache: Averted; he's not much of a badass.
- The Dandy: The best dressed person in the cast.
- Meaningful Name: His first name's Grayson and he wears a lot of grey.
- Nice Hat: A bowler.
- Non-Action Guy: Not much of a fighter, but proves himself brave enough to keep up with the more experienced men in the group.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He's honest and fair, goes on the mission to bring Wade to Yuma himself, and insists to Dan he'll be with him every step of the way. He only gives up after it's just him, Dan, and William left and the situation is basically hopeless, and even then he assures Dan that he'll pay him anyway and encourages him to give up as well, not expecting him to go up against suicidal odds all by himself.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Wade's gang surround him, Butterfield decides to leave. However, it's easy to be sympathetic toward him; the U.S. Marshals even gave up and recommended the same to him. Butterfield just didn't want to die pointlessly for the sake of his bank.
- Sole Survivor: Of the adults in the posse escorting Ben Wade, he's the only one still alive by the end of the film.
- Weapon of Choice: A Colt Single Action Army revolver, which Butterfield is shown fanning the hammer with.
A ruthless pinkerton agent frequently on the hunt for Wade. After his capture, McElroy joins the posse to escort Wade to Contention.
- Disney Villain Death: Thrown off a cliff by Wade, because Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas.
- Flat Character: Is accused of being one by Wade, who considers him boring.Ben Wade: Byron's like a song with only one note in it. You ever read a book in your life besides The Bible, Byron?Byron: No need.
- Jerkass: Even at his most mellow he's gruff and grumpy.
- Nerves of Steel: Even with a gun trained on him, he doesn't lose his ability to snark at his would-be killer.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Wade reveals that McElroy holds a special dislike for Native Americans, slaughtering them by the dozens.
- Offstage Villainy: Although he might seem like a gruff but righteous protagonist, Wade shares his horrific and brutal past.Wade: Byron acts pious. Few years ago, when he was under contract to Central, I seen him and a bunch of other Pinks mow down 32 Apache women and children.McElroy: Renegades... gunning down railroad men and their families. Picking 'em off the road one by one. Scalping 'em.Wade: There was young ones running around crying and screaming. No more than three years old. And his boys shot 'em all then pushed 'em into a ditch. Some of them was still crying. But I guess Byron figured that Jesus wouldn't mind. Apparently Jesus don't like the Apache.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Wields a shotgun as his primary weapon.
- Tempting Fate: Byron should've known not to push Ben Wade's Berserk Button. Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas.
- Would Hurt a Child: He's killed Native American children no more than three years old, and may have even buried some of them alive.
- Worthy Opponent: For Ben Wade, or so it appears at first. It's subverted later when the depth of their hatred for each other is revealed, although Wade claims to have always liked Byron.
A veterinarian from the town of Bisbee, the nervous but good-hearted Potter is dragged along with Wade's escort to provide medical service to a wounded McElroy.
- Frontier Doctor: A veterinarian, but the closest the posse have to a medic.
- The Heart: Doc is the kindest member of the posse, and is only part of it because of his duty to his patient. Dan wants respect and money, Tucker is ordered to by Hollander, Butterfield wants to protect his bank's interests, McElroy wants to see Wade swing and William wants to prove himself a badass. The Doc has the most moral reason of all of them to help.
- In the Back: Shot from behind by one of the railroad enforcers.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Hits one of the railroad enforcers in the face with a shovel.
- The Medic: For the posse. He's brought along to tend to McElroy's wounds.
- Nice Guy: One of the sweetest guys you'll meet.
- Not That Kind of Doctor: It's a matter of some concern for McElroy when he sees that the Doc mostly tends to horses, not humans.McElroy: What the fuck kind of doctor are you, anyway?
Potter: Nice to have a conversation with a patient for a change.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: Right when it looks like the heroes have escaped Boles' mine free and clear, Potter is suddenly shot from behind and dies a few minutes later.
A hired thug working for Glen Hollander.
- Asshole Victim: He was a vicious thug and nobody was particularly sorry to see him go.
- The Bully: Tucker is a sadistic jerk who enjoys taunting others and causing misery. Notably, he only bullies Dan, who is under his boss's thumb, and Wade when he's tied up and supposedly helpless.
- Bullying a Dragon: He tries his bullying tactics with Wade. It doesn't end well for him at all.
- The Dragon: To Glen Hollander.
- Establishing Character Moment: Introduced burning down the Evans' family barn, attacking Dan when he tries to stop it, and threatening to burn their house next if Dan can't make good on his debt to Hollander.
- Jerkass: Did you really need to burn down Dan's barn, Tucker?
- Psycho for Hire: Even if he wasn't working for Hollander, he'd probably be off exercising his violent impulses elsewhere considering the sick pleasure he seems to take in hurting people. When Potter expresses his disgust with Tucker's actions, Tucker just smiles and says "just doin' my job, Doc".
- Slashed Throat: Or stabbed repeatedly in the throat by Ben during the night.
The determined, steadfast wife of Dan Evans.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Ben Wade tries to pull this on her. It doesn't work.
The youngest son of Dan Evans.
A successful businessman who owns the farmland where the Evans Family resides.
- Greed: He's willing to toss a family off their land to swell his own pocket.
- Jerkass: He treats Dan like garbage and rubs it in his face.
- Jerkass Has a Point: He's a contemptible son of a bitch, but Hollander is legally right; he can indeed do whatever he pleases with his own land, and the fact that it threatens to ruin Dan and his family financially is reprehensible, but not illegal.
- Karma Houdini: Hollander's best man Tucker is dead, but Hollander himself is perfectly fine and never faces any comeuppance for his treatment of Dan.
- Precision F-Strike: When he feels Dan has overstepped his bounds."Before the water touches your land, it resides and flows on mine. And as such, I can do with it as I fuckin' please."
- Railroad Baron: Hollander aspires to become this, since he forsees the success of the railroad and wants to have it run through his land.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: His basic attitude.
A barmaid who Ben Wade takes a liking to.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: She's instantly charmed by notorious outlaw/dashing rogue Ben Wade.
A railroad foreman who's had past encounters with Ben Wade.
- Character Death: Along with Zeke, Boles is killed by Charlie Prince.
- Electric Torture: He subjects Wade to this as part of his Revenge.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Boles is a slave-driving piece of work, but he did love his brother.
- Revenge: He seeks vengeance for the death of his brother at Ben Wade's hands.
The second-in-command to Walter Boles.
- Character Death: Charlie Prince kills him and his boss Walter Boles.
- Establishing Character Moment: He's established as an unsympathetic moron when he's introduced, griping about Chinese workers and wishing they had 'negros' to show them what real work is.
- Jerkass: Zeke is an ill-tempered racist.
- Number Two: He's the second-in-command to Walter Boles.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Zeke is introduced bitching about the Chinese laborers and how they should have hired 'negros'.
- Too Dumb to Live: Apparently, Zeke hasn't heard of the curse on Ben Wade's gun, the Hand of God. Or that Charlie Prince hates posses.