August 7, 1957 – The “3:10 From Yuma” Arrives

On August 7, 1957, Glenn Ford’s gang terrorized Van Heflin and kept movie-goers across America on the edge of their seats in director Delmer Dawes’ 3:10 From Yuma, based on a story by Elmore Leonard.

After a successful stagecoach holdup in Arizona Territory in the 1880’s, Ben Wade (Ford) and his men enjoy a night on the town in Bisbee.  But Wade is recognized and captured; his gang vow to free him and the local marshall has a dangerous situation on his hands.  Financially-struggling local rancher Dan Evans (Heflin), and the town drunk (Henry Jones as Alex Potter), are the only volunteers willing to be paid to sneak Wade to Contention City, where he will be put on the 3:10 train to Yuma for a courtroom trial.  Stagecoach owner Mr. Butterfield (Robert Emhardt) offers money and assistance to carry out the plan.

The marshall’s plan includes imposters and subterfuge, but the gang can’t be shaken off the trail of their leader.  As the clock ticks down to 3:10, the tension builds, bullets fly, Alex dies, and Mr. Butterfield eventually urges Evans to abandon his obligation to deliver Wade.  Evans is a man of integrity, and even though he begins to despair that he will ever return to his wife and three sons, he commits himself to see his mission to completion.

In the end, Wade surprises Evans and the audience, who were already pleasantly intrigued with watching Glenn Ford, who usually portrayed good guys, play a hard-core villain.  Reviewers praised the sharp black-and-white cinematography of Charles Lawton, Jr.  3:10 to Yuma was nominated for Best Film by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

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