Charlie Prince

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Charlie Prince
Charlie Prince pic.jpg
Created by Elmore Leonard
Portrayed by Ben Foster
Richard Jaeckel
Gender Male
Occupation Outlaw, Gunfighter, Highwayman

Charlie Prince is a fictional character in the Western short story "Three-Ten to Yuma" and its film adaptations. He serves as the right-hand man of the main antagonist, Ben Wade. He is portrayed by actors Richard Jaeckel in the 1957 film adaptation and Ben Foster in the 2007 film adaptation.


Charlie Prince is an outlaw highwayman and the right-hand man of the outlaw Ben Wade (Glenn Ford in 1957 and Russell Crowe in 2007) and his gang. Unlike other characters, Prince appears in both films. Prince is portrayed as a cold-blooded killer who attacks people for merely insulting him. Throughout the film he employs intelligence and wit to overcome his enemies; for example, he makes a deal with Contention's sheriffs with promises to spare them only to kill them after all, and he turns the whole city of Contention against its lawmen by promoting a reward of $200 for everyone who can kill even a single of Wade's captors. After Evans gets Wade on the train to Yuma, Charlie pursues on foot, but is shot and killed by Evans; the rest of the gang quickly gives up the chase.

In the 2007 film, when Wade is captured by Bisbee's sheriffs, Prince is furious and kills a deputy and a local, threatening the others that the "town's gonna burn". Prince and the others later attack the coach that is supposed to have Wade captive inside, upon discovering that it is just a decoy, he burns it and the deputy inside. When one of Wade's gang says that Wade wasn't worth the risk and can be easily replaced, he hits him and says to "never forget what [Wade] done for [them]". They continue their pursuit upon learning that Wade will be taken to Contention for his transfer to Yuma Territorial Prison to be sentenced.

They arrive in Contention, and surround the inn Wade is being held at. He offers a reward to those who can kill even one of Wade's captors. The local sheriff tries to leave in peace. But, after exiting the inn unarmed, Prince and the gang massacre them. When deputized rancher Dan Evans (portrayed by Van Heflin in 1957 and Christian Bale in 2007) makes a bold move to escort Wade to the train under fire, Prince tries to make sure none of the gunfire hits Wade. When Wade is shot in the shoulder, Prince kills the shooter and others. The train to Yuma arrives and Dan tries to get Wade on it, Prince continues pursuit despite being wounded and nearly trampled to death by a herd of cows. Prince kills Dan and frees his boss. After Prince tries to comfort his boss upon the rancher's death, Wade kills him and the other members of his gang.


In the 2007 film, Charlie Prince carries two Smith & Wesson Schofield Model 3 revolvers in butts-forward holsters built by Will Ghormley. Ghormley also designed Prince's holsters. Thell Reed extensively trained Foster in multiple quick draw and spinning techniques prior to filming. The Schofields were also used by Wade to kill Prince.[1] Thell, the armorer, felt the arched back in the holsters impeded Foster’s ability to draw. Ultimately the arches were removed even though they were period correct. Also the holsters on the final rig were made ‘baggier’ than the holster on the prototype so Foster could holster his pistols with less resistance.[2] However, in the 1957 film, he used a Colt Peacemaker.[3]

Charlie wears a bone-white leather jacket with buttons appearing to be Royal Army Pay Corps (RAPC) buttons which include a lion over a crown over a scroll which reads “Fide et Fiducia” which means “By fidelity and confidence” or “trust and be trusted”.[4] Baron Hats made Charlie's hat which they called “The Trigger man”. Sales of these items increased during the release of the film.


Ben Foster received best supporting actor nominations from both the Saturn and Satellite Awards for his 2007 role in the film, as well as the Screen Actors Guild Awards.[5] Charlie Prince would go on to have a cult following, with articles about him in Fandom, Live Journal and Yuletide. Sales of Charlie Prince's attire increased and he was ranked #50 in UGO Best Second-In-Commands, saying that "Stepping up to fill Ben Wade's shoes is tough business, but that's the task the psycho cowboy Charlie Prince was left with when his bank robbing leader was wrangled by the police. The "psycho" part comes in handy - Prince is certainly not the type who will wait to shoot you if you're between him and a Russell Crowe mentorship".[6]

IGN praised Foster's performance as Charlie Prince, saying, "the real scene-stealer in the film, though, is Foster. Crazy-eyed gunslinger Charlie Prince is like a loyal but wild dog who will maul anyone seeking to hurt his master and would follow him into hell if need be. There is a glance between Ben and Charlie near the end that is one of the most moving and dramatic moments seen in any film this year."[7]


  1. ^ "Yuma Guns". Imfdb. 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  2. ^ "Yuma Holsters". Will Ghormley. 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  3. ^ "Yuma Guns". Imfdb. 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  4. ^ "Hats and Jacket". Playing FOr Blood. 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-03-17. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Ben Foster". Yahoo! Movies. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-15. 
  6. ^ " Best Second-In-Commands". 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  7. ^ "IGN Movie Review". IGN. 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-03-17. [permanent dead link]

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