3:10 to Yuma - Double-Dealing Moneymongers

Starring Russell Crowe, Christian Bale and Ben Foster. Directed by James Mangold. Written by Halsted Welles and Michael Brandt

310-to-yuma-dvd Very little affluence comes to honest people during double-dealing times.

Everyone in the US and other G7 countries knows this because of the 2008 worldwide fun-sucking recession spawned by corruption in US insurance, banking and government. But then, maybe blaming these few power brokers oversimplifies some fairly complex issues.

In any case, some good usually emerges from those most injured when financial market corrections expose the misbehaviors of our fiscal fiduciaries. Besides, the fallout of economic cheatin’ makes great plots for adventurous western tales.

In 3:10 To Yuma, limited water-flow from their Arizona stream reduces liquidity to less than a dribble for the Evans family. New England Yankees moving west for the health benefit of their younger son, the Evans borrow to finance their spread. When payback falls behind, speculator Ben Hollander—who also controls the trickling rivulet—turns off all wetness and orders a barn burning to add chaos to misery. “You borrowed a good deal of money and I have rights to recompense,” he pontificates when rancher Dan Evans confronts him. “The railroad’s comin’ Dan. Your land’s worth more with you off it.” Under this type of stress, Dan starts to stumble.

Deprived of a foot while serving as a Civil War sharpshooter for the Union, Dan limps through life peaceably, often desperately, feed by a barely living trickle of hope. While his ailing younger son admires his dad’s meager inner strength, Dan’s wife gives him only surface respect and his older son lives with open disdains for his father’s leadership.

Hope for Dan arises with the capture of outlaw Ben Wade after his gang robs its twenty-second Pinkerton stage. When Pinkerton promises him a ranch-saving $200 upon success, Dan Evans agrees to ride guard with the men escorting Ben Wade cross country to a prison-bound train, the 3:10 to Yuma. After all, Dan is a sharpshooter. Yet—still running free—the Wade gang plots to spring their wily headman.

Even in captivity, Ben Wade surges with confidence. A tough perfectionist who shoots dead one of his own gang for making a tactical error—“Well Tommy…I know Charlie told you…this is what happens when you put us all at risk.”—Outlaw Wade slings a fast gun, a strategic mind, a cynicism toward fake faith and a softness for honest folks with integrity.

Evans and Wade first confront each other during the aftermath of the stage holdup. Discovering his cattle serving as a rustled roadblock, Evans politely requests them back. “I don’t need your cattle,” Wade quietly replies. “But I will be needin’ them horses,” likely so Evans won’t be planning anything foolish. “You’ll find them on the road to Bisbee,“ Wade continues, then follows through, leaving the steeds where Evans and his sons can recover them.

After assisting with Wade’s capture in Bisbee, the peg-legged Evans signs on as the toughest and most skilled of the escorts, the others including two Pinkertons and a veterinarian doubling as a frontier physician. With good intentions, they hustle toward the connection in Contention, with slim hopes of arriving alive or with Ben.

While some say they may guess the end, the story ropes up plenty of suspenseful trials and surprise trails. With Evans pressing toward the goal, no knows the next action from Ben or his men.

Despite some rough language, intense violence and soft jabs at humbug Christianity, 3:10 To Yuma provides a intensely engrossing conversation starter for those 17 and older. The near 50-50 good-bad conflict within the main characters and empathetic acting skills of Christian Bale (Evans) and Russell Crowe (Wade)—plus tight directing and editing—keep the story rolling toward its revolving resolution. After watching six hours of Jane Austin to calm your 3:10-To-Yuma neurons, in the end you may even see Evans as creating at least 50 percent of his own fiscal pain. But then, maybe not.

Village Hiker

Get 3:10 to Yuma on DVD (Widescreen Edition) or get the 3:10 to Yuma Blu-ray editionOutlaws Westerns)