Read Anthony F. Hughes’s Classic Westerns Series every month in Ireland’s Own
Glen Ford starred in 27 Western movies including the Delmer Daves directed ‘3:10 to Yuma’.
Adapted from a story by Elmore Leonard, the movie has its setting in 1880’s Arizona.
To the film studios credit the shoots were done in Arizona. As such there is an element of realism to the production – a parched landscape, a cattleman losing his fight against nature, destitution staring him in the face.
An unexpected opportunity comes his way, however, one with enough money attached to turn the small rancher’s fortunes completely around.
‘Yuma’ (92 mins) focuses on two men who meet up by pure chance. One of the duo, Ben Wade (Glenn Ford), a callous killer, is the undisputed leader of a twelve-man outlaw gang whose members make a living from the proceeds of robberies.
Van Heflin (of ‘Shane’ fame) plays the role of the other protagonist in the equation – rancher Dan Evans. Given a choice, very few people, if any, would have opted to raise cattle in the Arizona of the 1880’s.
How Dan Evans acquired his spread on the edge of the desert is anyone’s guess but cattle ranching was certainly his line of business when he first crossed paths with the notorious Ben Wade.
Unlike many of the big ranchers in New Mexico and Texas who literally had cattle herds that numbered in the thousands, Evans had about sixty and….a few horses besides.