Comparisons to High Noon did little to impede gritty Western 3:10 to Yuma, which also has the distinction of being the first Elmore Leonard adaptation.
Ben Wade (Glenn Ford) is a gunfighter and outlaw whose stagecoach robberies lead to capture by a local posse led by rancher Dan Evans (Van Heflin). A reward – enough to save Evans from bankruptcy – is promised if they can get Wade to the state prison.
The prisoner is moved to a hideout while they wait for the one train, the 3.10 to Yuma, which will deliver him to jail. But before it arrives, Wade’s gang locates their leader and rides into town with a mission. Evans must protect his prisoner to save himself, and Wade is proving less than compliant.
Writer-director Delmer Daves spent part of his youth on a Navajo reservation, and his work consequently contains integrity of detail and atmosphere lacking in his genre rivals. Ford makes a memorable villain, ‘authoritative, impressive and successful’, according to Variety, and he’s balanced by Heflin’s typically gutsy performance.
USA / 92 minutes / 1957
Writers:Halsted Welles (from a story by Elmore Leonard),
Glenn Ford as Ben Wade
Henry Jones as Alex Potter, town drunk
Richard Jaeckel as Charlie Prince
Dorothy Adams as Mrs. Potter (uncredited)
Ford Rainey as Bisbee Marshal
Bill Hale as Dave Keene (uncredited)
Frank Hagney as Townsman in Contention (uncredited)
Van Heflin as Dan Evans
Felicia Farr as Emmy
Leora Dana as Mrs. Alice Evans
Robert Emhardt as Mr. Butterfield, Stage Line Owner
Sheridan Comerate as Bob Moons (Stagedriver’s Brother)
George Mitchell as Bartender
Robert Ellenstein as Ernie Collins
Jimmie Booth as Wade Henchman (uncredited)
John L. Cason as Wade Henchman (uncredited)
Richard Devon as Wade Henchman (uncredited)
Joe Haworth as Wade Henchman (uncredited)
Robert ‘Buzz’ Henry as Wade Henchman (uncredited)
Danny Borzage as Townsman (uncredited)
Woody Chambliss as Blacksmith (uncredited)
Barry Curtis as Mathew Evans (uncredited)
Jerry Hartleben as Mark Evans (uncredited)
Tex Holden as One-Legged Man (uncredited)
Boyd Stockman as Bill Moons (uncredited)
Guy Teague as Orin Keene (uncredited)
Guy Wilkerson as Hotel Proprietor-Bartender (uncredited)
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