Movie Mind Says: Buy It
If You Like This You Should Watch: The Quick and the Dead, Deadwood (HBO)
Better Than: Unforgiven, Wyatt Earp
Worse Than: Tombstone
Starring: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Logan Lerman
Man do I love me some Western flicks! I love ‘em even more when they are done as well as this one. Not since Nick Papagiorgio has the little town called Yuma, Arizona gained so much big screen notoriety. Only this time, it is likely to be remembered by many more.
Gunmen, pistoleers, outlaws; no matter what you want to call them, it seems like cinematic gold every time they grace the screen.
3:10 to Yuma is a remade version of the 1957 film under the same name. Since it is highly unlikely that any of The Movie Mind’s loyal readers were around during the original, we will just go ahead and assume this was the first.
Russell Crowe is amazing as Ben Wade, a ruthless killer/thief whose gang scares the hell out of most organized law enforcement outfits. They are cavalier gunmen who have taken a small fortune from the Southern Pacific stagecoaches over the years. No matter what traps and bounty hunters South Pac has sent after Wade and his crew, they always seem to swing and miss while losing a ton of money and men in the process. Wade rules his own crew with an iron fist and doesn’t hesitate to take anyone out who stands in his way. Somehow though, he manages to maintain some semblance of righteousness, even if he doesn’t always act accordingly.
Christian Bale plays a small-time rancher named Dan Evans who lost a part of his leg while fighting for the government on the side of the north (a nod to the writers for dropping this hint about how Dan fights for what is right). He is struggling to make “end’s meat” from his emaciated herd due to the ongoing drought that has fallen upon them. To top it off, the supposed town lawmen are strong-arming him and his family to push them off their land so the railroad can run right through their property. He not only is losing the respect of his wife and kids, but is struggling to maintain any respect for himself at the same time.
Evans has a random run-in with Wade at the beginning of the film and tries to stand his ground to save some face with his children. Little does he know this abrupt meeting will set the stage for his further dealings with Wade. Once Wade has come into custody of the law, Evans volunteers to join the makeshift crew that will take him to Conjunction where he will board the 3:10 train heading straight for prison in Yuma. The true battle is not as much between Wade’s gang and his escorts as it is between what Wade and Evans both stand for.
We see their hatred for each other grow right before our eyes and they are as convincing as I have ever seen. Crowe and Bale look so comfortable in their roles it couldn’t have been cast any better. Only, a funny thing happens when you have more to fight for than just money, for both men. Their interactions grow to a point where each one has more to prove than it seems.
I’ll tell you again that this is one of the best Westerns I have seen in quite some time. I have no apprehensions telling you that in some time it will be right up there with the best of its genre. Don’t miss the opportunity to add this classic to your personal collection. The Movie Mind will be enjoying it for a long time to come.
Ben Wade: Remind me never to play poker in this town.
Ben Wade: 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.
Butterfield: Twenty-two robberies. Over four hundred thousand dollars in losses. More in delays. The Southern Pacific will have Ben Wade convicted in a federal court. Hanged in public. An example made. And we will pay to make it happen.
Ben Wade: Y’all notice he didn’t mention any of the lives I’ve taken.
Dan Evans: You say one more word, and I’ll cut you down right here.
Ben Wade: I like this side of you, Dan.
William Evans: You got us through the tunnels. You helped us get away.
Ben Wade: If I had a gun in them tunnels, I would have used it on you.
William Evans: I don’t believe you.
Ben Wade: Kid, I wouldn’t last five minutes leading an outfit like that if I wasn’t as rotten as hell.
Dan Evans: And you just remember that your old man walked Ben Wade to that station when nobody else would.
Ben Wade: I’ve always liked you Byron, but you never know when to shut up. Even bad men love their mommas.
Dan Evans: [while being choked] I ain’t never been no hero, Wade. The only battle I seen, we was in retreat. My foot got shot off by one of my own men. You try telling that story to your boy. See how he he looks at you then.
Doc Potter: Is it true that you dynamited a wagon full of prospectors in the western territories last spring?
Ben Wade: No, that’s a lie… It was a train full.
Ben Wade: You know, squeezin’ that watch won’t stop time.
Dan Evans: I’ve been standin on one leg for three damn years waitin for God to do me a favor… and He ain’t listenin.
Kane: [interrupting him] Did you see The Hand of God?
Charlie Prince: What’s that?
Kane: His pistol.
Butterfield: Why the hell didn’t you do something?
Charlie Prince: They had a lot of weapons, mister… and they were shootin’ bullets.
Ben Wade: Now, you see Dan, generally pretty much everyone wants to live. That means Butterfield, too. He’s gonna walk out on you. He’s gonna come back up here, and he’s gonna walk out on you. Now, what you gotta figure is why you and your boy are gonna die. Because Butterfield’s railroad lost some money?
Ben Wade: You ever read the bible, Dan? I read it one time. I was eight years old. My daddy just got hisself killed over a shot of whiskey and my mama said “we’re going back East to start over”. So she gave me a bible, sat me down in the train station, told me to read it. She was gonna get our tickets. Well, I did what she said. I read that bible from cover to cover. It took me three days. She never came back.
Ben Wade: Don’t muddy the past in the present, Dan.
Dan Evans: No… Wade, I’m seeing the world the way it is.
Charlie Prince: For a one-leg rancher… he’s one tough son of a bitch.