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3:10 to Yuma (1957 film)

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3:10 to Yuma
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDelmer Daves
Screenplay byHalsted Welles
Based on"Three-Ten to Yuma"
1953 short story
by Elmore Leonard
Produced byDavid Heilweil
StarringGlenn Ford
Van Heflin
Felicia Farr
CinematographyCharles Lawton Jr.
Edited byAl Clark
Music byGeorge Duning
Color processBlack and white
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]

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 plot concerns an impoverished rancher who takes 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 "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."[2][3] The film was remade in 2007, directed by James Mangold and starring Russell Crowe with Christian Bale.

The title song, "The 3:10 to Yuma", was written by George Duning (music) and Ned Washington (lyrics), and sung at the beginning and end of the film by Frankie Laine. He recorded the song 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 for Island Records.


In the Arizona Territory of the 1880s, struggling rancher Dan Evans and his two sons witness a gang led by notorious outlaw Ben Wade rob a stagecoach. When the stagecoach driver manages to overpower one of the robbers, Wade calmly shoots both men dead. On the way to Mexico, the robbers stop at a saloon in Bisbee for drinks. Wade alerts the town marshal of the robbery and the murders. A posse is assembled and Wade instructs his men to ride across the border to safety until he can rejoin them, while the posse heads back toward the stage. The posse meets up with Dan and the stagecoach company's owner, Mr. Butterfield, who accompany the lawmen as they head to the saloon. Charlie Prince, Wade's second in charge, returns to Bisbee to see what is delaying Wade just before the posse arrives back in town. Evans distracts Wade, allowing the marshal to approach Wade from behind and arrest him. Prince is shot in the hand but escapes on his horse to retrieve the rest of the gang.

The marshal requests two volunteers to escort Wade to Contention City to catch the 3:10 train to Yuma, where he can be held for trial. Butterfield offers to pay any volunteer $200, and Dan and a drunkard posse member named Alex Potter volunteer their services. The marshal has a man pretending to be Wade placed on a stagecoach leaving town that evening, hoping to mislead Wade's men and buy Dan and Potter some time. Wade is taken to Dan's ranch, where Alice Evans, his wife, learns of her husband's decision. Wade is subsequently moved to Contention City, where Dan and Potter meet Butterfield in a hotel room to wait for the train. Wade tries to bribe Dan into releasing him but is impresses with Dan's refusal.

The slain stagecoach driver's brother, Bob Moons, arrives and barges into the hotel room seeking revenge. Dan wrestles his gun away, but it fires. Prince, having secretly tracked the party to Contention, hears the gunshot and alerts Wade's gang. The local sheriff is out of town, so Butterfield hires five men to provide security while Wade is taken to the rail station. As the gang surrounds the hotel, the locals flee, once again leaving only Dan, Alex and Butterfield. Alex saves Dan from gunfire from an outlaw on the roof, but Prince shoots Alex in the back and has the men hang him from the hotel chandelier. Butterfield is horrified and offers to give Dan his money, planning to release Wade. Alice arrives and tries to change her husband's mind, but he is committed to see Wade brought to justice. Dan takes Wade out a back door, skillfully moving him across town as the outlaws fire at them.

The outlaws finally reach Dan as the train starts to leave. Prince shouts for Wade to take cover so he can shoot Dan. Instead, Wade tells Dan to jump into the passing car, and they leap to safety together. The gang runs after the train, but Dan shoots Prince dead and the rest abandon the pursuit. Wade explains that he owed Dan a favor for saving his life earlier, and he claims that he has escaped from the Yuma jail before, meaning Dan will be able to claim his reward honestly. Alice sees Dan leave safely on the train as rain pours down on her, breaking the long drought.



David Heilweil brought the story to the Associates and Aldrich, the production company of Robert Aldrich.[4] Halsted Welles wrote a script, which Aldrich sold to Columbia for $100,000.[5]


In a contemporary review for The New York Times, critic Bosley Crowther noted the strong thematic similarity between 3:10 to Yuma and High Noon (1952). He wrote: "[D]espite the similarity, '3:10 to Yuma' is a good Western film, loaded with suspenseful situations and dusty atmosphere. .... A good, lively script has been written by Halsted Welles, and sharp, business-like direction has been contributed by Delmer Daves. What's more, the whole thing is neatly acted." [6]


In 1958, 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 was awarded to Van Heflin.[7]

The film was remade in 2007, directed by James Mangold and starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, and it was successful with critics.[8][9]

In 2012, the film was entered into the National Film Registry for its historical, cultural and aesthetic relevance.[citation needed]

The film caused "Yuma" to enter the lexicon of Cuban slang as a pejorative term for American visitors, while "La Yuma" is the United States.[10]

Home video[edit]

A Region 1 DVD was released in 2002.[11] A region A/1 Blu-ray version of the film was released as part of the Criterion Collection in 2013.[12]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ "Complete National Film Registry Listing". Library of Congress. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  4. ^ 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 (June 20, 1956: 28.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Crowther, Bosley (August 29, 1957). "Screen: '3:10 to !Yuma'". The New York Times. p. 22.
  7. ^ Sculthorpe, Derek (March 9, 2016). Van Heflin: A Life in Film. McFarland. p. 224. ISBN 978-0-7864-9686-0.
  8. ^ "3:10 to Yuma". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Archived from the original on June 28, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2009.
  9. ^ "3:10 to Yuma (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2007.
  10. ^ Sokol, Brett (October 8, 2007). "3:10 to Yuma in Cuba: How a Western changed the way Cubans speak". Slate.
  11. ^ 3:10 to Yuma (DVD (region 1)). Columbia TriStar Home Video. January 1, 2002.
  12. ^ 3:10 to Yuma (Blu-ray (region 1/A)). The Criterion Collection. May 14, 2013. This release is a restored version of the film, containing interviews with author Elmore Leonard and with Peter Ford, the son (and biographer) of actor Glenn Ford.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]