3:10 to Yuma (1957 film)

3:10 to Yuma is a 1957 American Western film directed by Delmer Daves and starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. Based on a 1953 short story by Elmore Leonard, the film is about a drought-impoverished rancher who takes on the risky job of escorting a notorious outlaw to justice. In 2012, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[2]

3:10 to Yuma
theatrical release poster
Directed byDelmer Daves
Produced byDavid Heilweil
Screenplay byHalsted Welles
Based onThree-Ten to Yuma
1953 short story
by Elmore Leonard
StarringGlenn Ford
Van Heflin
Felicia Farr
Music byGeorge Duning
CinematographyCharles Lawton, Jr.
Edited byAl Clark
Columbia Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • August 7, 1957 (1957-08-07) (US)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.85 million (US and Canadian rentals)[1]

The title song, "3:10 to Yuma", was by George Duning (music), with lyrics by Ned Washington and was sung at the beginning and end of the film by Frankie Laine. He recorded it for Columbia Records in 1957 (with the Jimmy Carroll Orchestra) and in 1960 (with the Johnny Williams Orchestra). It was also recorded by Sandy Denny in 1967. The film was remade in 2007, directed by James Mangold and starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.


Locations in 3:10 to Yuma

In the Arizona Territory of the 1880s, rancher Dan Evans (Van Heflin) and his two sons witness a stagecoach holdup. The younger boy asks his father if he is going to intervene, but Dan says that it would be useless to act, being so heavily outnumbered. When the stagecoach driver overpowers one of the robbers and uses him as a human shield, Ben Wade (Glenn Ford), the leader of the gang, shoots both men dead.

Posing as cowhands, Wade and his men stop at the saloon in nearby Bisbee, Arizona. They make the marshal aware that there has been a stagecoach robbery and that the driver has been killed. The lawman gathers a posse and Wade instructs his men to ride across the border, and he will join them later. He stays to seduce the pretty barmaid, Emmy (Felicia Farr). Contrary to his casual violence toward men, Wade shows real tenderness and affection for the lonely woman. The posse meets up with Dan and the stage-line owner, Mr. Butterfield (Robert Emhardt), who inform the marshal and company that the cowhands back in town were actually Wade and his men. They talk over a plan before heading back to town.

Charlie Prince (Richard Jaeckel), Wade's chief henchman, returns and tells Wade "there's a fella comin' down the road". This is Dan, who enters the saloon to engage Wade in conversation about monetary reimbursement for working time he lost because of the stagecoach hold-up. As they are engaged, the marshal and other men come in from behind and arrest Wade. Charlie Prince, shot in the hand when he comes upon some of the posse, manages to ride away to give the news to the rest of the gang.

The local people fear what his men will do, so the marshal decides to have two volunteers sneak the prisoner to Contention City to catch a train, the 3:10 to Yuma. Butterfield offers $200 for the dangerous job. Desperate for cash after three years of drought and feeling disappointed in himself for not being able to provide his family with a better life, Dan jumps at the opportunity. The only other man interested is the town drunk, Alex Potter (Henry Jones). When no one else steps forward, the marshal reluctantly accepts him.

Wade is placed on a stagecoach, which then stops (in view of some of the gang) for a faked repair; the outlaw is secretly taken off while the stage continues on with an imposter, in the hope that, by the time Wade's men figure out what has happened, it will be too late. Wade is taken to Dan's ranch, where Dan's devoted wife Alice (Leora Dana) serves supper to the family and Wade. Dan's sons berate the outlaw, but Alice insists that they show proper hospitality to their "guest". Once again, Wade displays genuine appreciation and respect for a hard-working woman, while trying (and momentarily succeeding) to charm Alice - in private, Dan exhorts her for accepting Wade's flirtation.

Dan, Alex and Wade leave under cover of darkness, reaching Contention City at daybreak. Butterfield has reserved the bridal suite at the hotel. While they wait for the train, Wade tries several times to bribe Dan into letting him go, reminding him that he has a fine wife and family waiting for him. Dan is irritated by Wade's inducements, especially Wade's comments about his wife, but he is greatly tempted by his offers of cash that "no one will ever know about". Confident that his men will rescue him before he's taken to the train, Wade never shows anything but calm bemusement to his captor. His interest in Dan seems to go beyond a simple exchange of freedom for cash. The local sheriff is out of town, so Butterfield hires five men to help escort the prisoner to the train.

Things go awry when the slain stagecoach driver's brother, Bob Moons (Sheridan Comerate), barges in seeking revenge. Dan wrestles his gun away, but in the struggle it goes off. Charlie Prince, in town as part of an arrangement the gang implements anytime any one of them is arrested, hears the gunshot and spots Wade in a window. He rides off to fetch his cohorts.

The men Butterfield recruited watch as seven outlaws enter the town. Not liking the odds, they retreat, leaving only Dan, Alex and Butterfield. When Alex goes out to reconnoitre he spots one of Wade's men on a rooftop opposite the hotel. Alex calls out, warning Dan, but is shot in the back by Prince. The gang hangs the wounded Alex from the lobby chandelier, killing him. Butterfield decides that Wade is no longer worth the risk, offering to release Dan from his obligation, with pay. Alice arrives and also tries to change her husband's mind, but he is committed: "The town drunk gave his life because he believed that people should be able to live in decency and peace together. You think I can do less?"

When the clock strikes three, Dan takes Wade out a back door. Gang members take shots whenever they can without endangering Wade, but despite their best efforts they cannot stop the pair from reaching the track side, where the train is just arriving.

Finally, the outlaws emerge to confront Dan as the train starts to leave. Prince shouts for Wade to drop down to allow them a clear shot at Dan. Instead, Wade unexpectedly tells Dan to jump into the passing baggage car. They leap to safety together. The gang runs after the train, but Dan shoots Prince and the rest give up pursuit. Wade explains that he owed Dan a favour for saving his life when Bob Moons tried to kill him, and he confidently claims he has broken out of the Yuma jail before (implying he can do so again). Alice sees Dan safe on the train as rain pours down on her, breaking the long drought.



David Heliwell brought the story to The Associates and Aldrich, the production company of Robert Aldrich.[3] Halstead Welles did a script. Aldrich sold this to Columbia for $100,000.[4]


When first released in the summer of 1957, the film became popular among audiences and critics alike for its suspense and sharp black-and-white cinematography. Ford received favorable notice for his atypical role as a villain. The following year, 3:10 to Yuma was nominated for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for Best Film and the Laurel Award for Top Male Action Star, which went to Van Heflin.

The film caused "Yuma" to enter the lexicon of Cuban slang: Yumas is a term for American visitors, while La Yuma is the United States.[5]

A 2007 remake under James Mangold’s direction of Russell Crowe and Christian Bale was critically successful.[6][7]

Home video

A region A/1 Blu-ray DVD of the film was released in 2013.[8] A region 1 DVD was released in 2002.[9]

See also


  1. "Top Grossers of 1957". Variety. January 8, 1958. p. 30. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  2. King, Susan (December 19, 2012). "National Film Registry selects 25 films for preservation". The Los Angeles Times.
  3. COMEDIANS TO DO SEPARATE TURNS: Martin and Lewis Get Wallis' Permission to Split Up for 'One Motion Picture Only' Of Local Origin By OSCAR GODBOUT SNew York Times (20 June 1956: 28.
  4. WYLER AND PECK TO TEAM ON FILM: Director and Actor Will Be Partners in Production of 'Thieves Market' By THOMAS M. PRYOR New York Times11 Dec 1956: 49.
  5. Sokol, Brett (October 8, 2007). "3:10 to Yuma in Cuba: How a Western changed the way Cubans speak". Slate.
  6. "3:10 to Yuma". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Archived from the original on June 28, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2009.
  7. "3:10 to Yuma (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2007.
  8. 3:10 to Yuma (Blu-ray (region 1/A)). The Criterion Collection. May 14, 2013. This release is a restored version of the film. It contains interviews with author Elmore Leonard and with Peter Ford, the son (and biographer) of actor Glenn Ford.
  9. 3:10 to Yuma (DVD (region 1)). SONY Home Pictures Entertainment. January 1, 2002.

Further reading

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