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3:10 to Yuma (Delmer Daves) - 1957

Glenn Ford (1916-2006) is the leader of the stage-robbing gang and Van Heflin (1910-1971) is the poor Arizona cattle-rancher with a lovely but skinny wife (Leora Dana 1923-1983) and two mouthy but obedient sons.  Ford's gang robs the gold from the Butterfield stagecoach as observed by Heflin and sons from the nearby hills.  In the process, the gang leader shoots the driver and one of his own men in "self-defense."  The gang flees to the jumping town of Bisbee, Arizona for a drink and then high-tails it before the town learns about their crimes.  However, Ford stays behind to spoon with the lady bartender (Felicia Farr, who was later married to Jack Lemmon from 1962 until his death in 2001).  The Bisbee marshal (Ford Rainey 1908-2005) quickly arrests Ford after his tryst and then Mr. Butterfield (Robert Emhardt 1913-1994) offers $200 to Heflin and the town drunk (Henry Jones 1912-1999) to escort Ford to the Yuma train.  During the trip, Glenn and Van become best buddies as the outlaw gang pursues them.  Director Daves (1904-1977) took several obvious short cuts in this low-budget adaptation of the Elmore Leonard story but the acting performances are fun to watch.  Unlike most oaters of the day, Leonard's story shows that some bad guys are not all bad, and that the bravest guy in town could be the town drunk. [JAM 3/14/2010]