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Film / 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

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Ben Wade: So, boys - where we headed?
McElroy: Taking you to the 3:10 to Yuma day after tomorrow.
Tucker: Shouldn't have told him that.
Wade: Relax, friend. Now if we get separated, I'll know where to meet up.

3:10 to Yuma is a 2007 film starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.

Determined Homesteader Dan Evans (Bale) is going to lose his ranch in southern Arizona. A bad drought worsened by his creditor redirecting the river that ran through his land makes it nigh impossible to pay his mortgage, 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 (Crowe) 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 (private security and lawmen for hire) that survived and take him to town.

Wade goes to the nearby town to rest before regrouping and setting off again, but the local marshal sets an ambush and they capture him. This was the easy part however. Since the marshal needs volunteers to escort Wade to the railroad stop in the town of Contention, where he will be put on a train headed to Yuma for a trial, Dan volunteers in order to get the money to pay for his mortgage. The way to Yuma will be filled with dangers, orchestrated by Wade's gang, and perhaps most dangerously, Wade himself.

This film was The Remake of a classic 1957 Western 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). Perhaps one of the best musical scores of the year 2007.

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 by his honesty to help him for the rest of the movie.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Anyone who's seen Serenity is going to find the death of Doc Potter awfully reminiscent of Wash's.
    • Tucker's demise may remind viewers of Lost of evil mercenary Martin Keamy's death.
  • Adaptation Expansion: A 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, fleshing out the journey, and changing the ending.
  • Affably Evil: Ben Wade, who is dangerously charming.
  • Agent Peacock: Charlie Princess is more than a little mincing and effeminate, and it's fairly clear that his devotion to Ben goes beyond simple brotherly love. He's also an unhinged maniac and by far the most dangerous member of Ben's gang other than their esteemed leader himself.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Despite being a murderous sociopath who kills indiscriminately, Charlie's death is a surprisingly poignant moment, when he's shot in the heart by the only man in the world he loves, without really understanding why.
  • The Alcoholic: Potter in the original.
  • All for Nothing: Dan gets Ben on board the titular train only to be shot down by Charlie Prince moments later. It's then subverted when Ben guns down his entire gang before getting on board anyway.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Charlie "Princess" Prince in the remake. Definitely not helped by his shrill voice and lisp, 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. He's definitely sensitive enough about his masculinity that his response to being mockingly called "Charlie Princess" is to shoot the guy in a fit of rage.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Ben is so enraged by Charlie's execution of Dan that he kills his entire own gang in revenge, saving the last bullet for Charlie.
  • Anti-Villain: Ben Wade arguably straddles the line between this and the Villain Protagonist. Sure, he's a vicious thief and murderer willing to kill a man at the slightest provocation... but he makes no pretense of being anything better, he's almost completely honest with everyone he meets, and he has an incredibly strong code of honor and loyalty. In the end, he's gained enough respect for Dan that when his gang guns Dan down, Ben furiously murders them all and then gets on board the train anyway.
  • Anyone Can Die: And they do, one by one. By the end, the only major characters left are Ben Wade, William Evans, and Grayson Butterfield.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Not many viewers will weep for the violent and ruthless deaths of Tucker, McElroy, and eventually his own last remaining gang members at Ben Wade's hands.
    • Likewise, not many would mourn the racist and moronic Zeke's death at Charlie's hands.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Ben flat-out explains this to William Evans, saying that the only reason he can remain in charge of his gang is because he's "rotten as hell." When Ben's had enough of his gang, he guns them all down in seconds before any of them get off so much as a single shot.
  • Bad Boss: Subverted. Ben is set up as a textbook example of this, shooting down one of his own men just for being dumb enough to get captured, and out of context, him eventually killing all his surviving gang members after they've just helped him escape sounds pretty loathsome. In this situation, though, the audiences' sympathies are entirely with Ben, and his motives for doing so are perhaps... not so simple.
  • 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.
  • Big "NO!": What Ben shouts immediately before Charlie shoots Dan.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Dan dies, but not before getting Ben aboard the train (ensuring that his farm will be saved), earning his son's respect, and possibly even teaching Ben a little humanity in the process.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Ben's coal-black revolver with the golden cross in the handle is a slightly more subdued example than most. It's also supposedly cursed for anyone else who touches it.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Than the original. When people die in this one, they bleed, heavily. This also applies to the body count; five people die in the original while almost 50 people are killed in this version.
  • Breaking Out the Boss: This is the goal for Wade's men in the film.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Wade's gun is said to be cursed to anyone else who touches it. Tucker takes it from him, and is killed by Wade. The railroad 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?
  • Chromosome Casting: Dan's wife is the only woman of significance, and she's not in it much.
  • 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.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Ben Wade has no illusions about what kind of man he is.
    Ben: (to William) Kid, I wouldn't last five minutes leading an outfit like that if I weren't rotten as hell.
  • Chinese Laborer: Ben Wade runs into a camp of Chinese railroad workers during an escape attempt, asking one of them to break his handcuffs. He gets captured by railroad enforcers before anything can come of it.
  • 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.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than the original, by quite a bit.
  • Death by Adaptation: Dan, shot repeatedly in the back and chest by Charlie Prince.
  • Decoy Convoy: The lawmen need to transport outlaw Ben Wade to the prison train without his gang freeing him. They make a big show of putting Ben Wade on a stagecoach, then secretly swap him with one of their own men— leading Wade's gang off one way, while they actually take Wade on horseback the other way. Not that that manages to fool Wade's men for long.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Dan Evans might be the hero of the movie, but don't be fooled, this is Ben's story all the way. Even the poster reflects it.
  • 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.
  • Determinator: Both Ben Wade and Dan Evans.
  • Determined Homesteader: Dan Evans.
  • Dirty Coward: The man handling the prisoners on the 3:10 to Yuma flees when Charlie guns down Dan.
  • Double Standard: Ben Wade shoots one of his own gang for getting taken as a hostage, saying that he deserved to die for being stupid and weak. Charlie Prince agrees with the sentiment. Then Wade makes a mistake and gets captured himself. Another of the gang suggests that maybe they shouldn't bother to rescue Wade, since it was his own fault he got caught. Charlie Prince pistol-whips him and nearly shoots him for daring to suggest such a thing.
  • 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.
    • Tucker: Stabbed repeatedly in the throat by Wade.
    • McElroy: Thrown off a cliff by Wade.
    • Potter: Shot by the railroad enforcers.
    • Dan: Gunned down by Charlie Prince.
  • 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, namely the Apaches and the railroad enforcers.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The remake is the Trope Namer.
    Wade: I've always liked you, Byron, but you never know when to shut up. Even bad men love their mommas.
  • 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.
  • Establishing Character Moment: While waiting for a stagecoach raid, Ben Wade is first shown artfully sketching a falcon sitting on a branch, showing us that this man is not your typical bandit.
  • Fastest Gun in the West: Ben Wade.
  • Flat Character: Ben Wade accuses Byron McElroy of being one.
    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.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: In the trailers and during the movie's climax.
  • Foreshadowing: Watch Ben Wade's chosen revolver very closely. It's mentioned that the weapon is supposedly "cursed" for anyone else who touches it. Sure enough, everyone else who touches it dies, no exceptions.
  • 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 twice 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.
  • Genre Savvy: Ben Wade offers Dan $1000 to give up and let him go. Dan refuses, not just because he doesn't trust Ben to keep his word, but because even if Dan accepted the money, it would be useless to him because everyone would know the only way a poor rancher would be able to acquire that kind of cash would be by accepting a bribe from a known (and extremely violent) criminal.
    • In the climax, Dan successfully gets Ben Wade on the train to Yuma prison. Wade's gang is still alive, and they don't just turn around and go home when this happens. Instead, Charlie kills Dan and the gang set Ben free. The only chance Dan had at survival would've been to kill the entire gang and then get Wade on the train.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: William Evans insists that Wade isn't all bad and that there's still some good left in him. Wade flatly informs the boy he's dead wrong and he would have killed him without a second thought, had he gotten the chance. On the other hand, what Ben does at the end proves that perhaps Will's not as wrong as Ben thought...
  • Gory Discretion Shot: It's too dark to see much detail when Wade repeatedly stabs Tucker in the throat.
  • 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.
  • Has a Type: Ben Wade is attracted to girls with green eyes. Like Dan's wife Alice.
  • Hazy-Feel Turn: Ben is clearly not planning to serve out his sentence at the end, nor abandon his merciless ways, but he willingly gets on board the titular train, even after William lowers his gun, and Dan's murder angers him so much that he guns down his entire gang for revenge.
  • 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 he should keep reading until she got back. Three days later, he had read it from cover to cover, and she never came back. He also calls his pistol "The Hand of God", and it has a Biblical inscription.
  • Hope Spot: Dan gets Ben onto the titular train, and Ben even cheers him by saying "Well, you did it, Dan", moments before Charlie shoots Dan in the 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: The party passes through here briefly only to get attacked by stereotypical braves at night. Wade notes that the Army's ongoing campaign against the Apache has made the whole area no place for women and children, therefore the ones in this part are the ones that stayed to fight, and they enjoy killing.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Averted throughout. It takes a long time for people to die when they're shot in a non-vital area. Dan Evans gets shot at close range four times, and he lives for several more minutes before finally expiring. Ben's first shot doesn't kill Charlie either, and Ben drags him to his feet to make sure he shoots him right in the heart, which does kill him instantly.
  • In the Back: Where Dan gets shot, the first few times.
  • Ironic Echo: Tucker mockingly sings "They're Gonna Hang Me in the Morning" to Wade while the latter is trying to get some sleep. Ben sings it later while McElroy is beating the shit out of him for Tucker's death.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Two cases, one straight and one initially averted.
    • Butterfield is a straight example. Ostensibly he's completely motivated by the demands of the railroad and the lucrative salary it provides, but he doesn't lack a sense of professional decency or a conscience, and he refuses to command Dan to face suicidal odds to earn the $200 he promised.
    • Wade averts the trope at first. When William asks him to call off his men because he's not "all bad," Wade says he couldn't lead his gang of "animals" if he wasn't "rotten as hell." Once Wade discovers Dan's true motive, however, the heart of gold finally surfaces and he helps Dan get him on the train.
  • 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 Apache 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 It with Fire: What Ben's gang does to the passenger of the decoy wagon (the driver got sniped). They imply that they'll let him out if he gives up the real wagon's destination, but then leave him to die anyway.
  • Last Chance to Quit: When they're alone together, Wade offers Dan Evans $400 (double what Butterfield had promised) to give up and let him go. While waiting for the train in Contention, Wade makes his final offer, this time $1000. Dan just laughs at the utter impracticality of accepting that much cash. Specifically, if he tried to actually spend any of it, everyone would know where he got the money from.
  • Live-Action Escort Mission
  • Morality Pet: Zigzagged. 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.
  • Multiple Gunshot Death: Charlie's execution of Dan.
    Charlie: For a one-legged rancher, he's one tough son of a bitch.
  • Noble Demon: What Ben eventually turns out to be, despite his earlier denial.
  • 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.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Ben murdering his entire gang in return for Dan's death, finishing Charlie off last in an extremely sadistic manner.
  • Pinkerton Detective: McElroy.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: Despite his gang arriving to free him from custody, Ben willingly boards the titular train because he has grown to respect Dan and wants his family to get the reward money for successfully escorting him.
  • Politically Correct History: Very much averted. It's mentioned that McElroy and the other Pinkertons once killed entire camps full of Apache - men, women, and children - and the railroad workers treat their Chinese employees terribly, with Zeke whining that he wishes they'd hired "negroes" because they make better laborers than the Chinese do.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: McElroy 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 (albeit a failing one).
  • Shoot the Hostage: During Ben Wade's stagecoach heist, one of the Pinkerton agents feigns death, then takes Tommy Darden hostage in a bid to escape. Ben Wade whips out his own gun and, in quick succession, fatally shoots Tommy and then the Pinkerton agent.
  • Sole Survivor: Butterfield to the posse that left Dan Evans' farm, and the only surviving member of Ben's gang at the end is Ben himself.
  • Son of a Whore: McElroy states that Ben Wade is 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.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Byron kills one of Wade's men this way when he shoots a stick of dynamite in the bandit's satchel, blowing up him and the horse he's riding.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: There are 13 members of Wade's gang, counting Wade.
    • Ben Wade
    • Charlie Prince
    • Campos
    • Sutherland (explosives expert, murders the decoy wagon passenger by burning him to death)
    • Jackson (wears a furry waistcoat, doesn't think it's worth trying to free Wade)
    • Nez (wears a poncho, referred to as an Apache)
    • Kinter (killed by Dan in the town shootout)
    • Jorgerson (large man with a poncho)
    • Tommy Darden (held hostage by one of the stagecoach guards, gets shot by Wade)
    • Tighe (blown up by Byron McElroy by a shotgun shell to his satchel of dynamite during the stagecoach robbery)
    • Three others (killed during the stagecoach robbery)
  • Too Dumb to Live: For someone as fanatically, er, dedicated to his boss as Charlie is, disobeying his orders and shooting Dan anyway was not a smart decision.
  • Tranquil Fury: Ben Wade doesn't even flinch while killing his own men to avenge Dan's death.
  • Vehicle Title: The name is based on the train scheduled to ride to Yuma.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Wade has apparently escaped Yuma 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).
  • What You Are in the Dark: William has Ben at gunpoint, but eventually lowers his gun and leaves Ben alone to attend to his father in his dying moments. There's nothing stopping Ben from escaping and killing William. He gets on board the train anyway.
  • Wicked Cultured: Wade has read the entirety of the Bible, and is skilled at drawing both wildlife and people.
  • Worthy Opponent: Ben's opinion of Dan. Eventually, he stops being Dan's opponent at all.
  • You Remind Me of X: A villainish version, 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.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: A silent example, when William has Ben at gunpoint at the end after his dad's been shot, but eventually lowers his gun to be with his father as he dies. Ben climbs aboard the 3:10 anyways.


Video Example(s):


Ben Wade's Death Glare

When Tommy sees this glare leveled at him (for putting the other gang members at risk by his carelessness), he knows his ticket's been punched.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / DeathGlare

Media sources: