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September 13, 2007

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The Gun Nut Takes The 3:10 To Yuma

I saw the original version of this movie when it came out in 1957, and remember it mostly as Glenn Ford and Van Heflin sitting in a hotel room talking, and thinking For God's sake shut up and somebody shoot somebody.

In this remake, plenty of people get shot. It is, however, a dopey movie, filled with lapses in logic and a script that tries for profundity and fails. It has plenty of Old Western Funk, and people carry Old Western guns like Colt 1860 Army revolvers converted to cartridge use, and Smith & Wesson Schofields, and Sharps, and Spencer carbines. But there are some lamentable lapses in authenticity.

*None of the guns produce any smoke that you could notice.

*An outlaw burns to death inside a stagecoach without making a sound. No "Gee, fellas, it's getting hot in here," or "Could someone open the door please?" Not a peep.

*A Pinkerton man gets shot in the stomach point blank with a .44 Schofield. He's hauled into town where a veterinarian takes out the bullet and he doesn't make a peep. Then he's up, and walking and riding, no more inconvenienced than you or I would be after overindulging at Taco Bell. The only thing that keeps him from making a complete recovery is Russell Crowe, who throws him off a cliff. Or maybe he bounced and walked away.

*An armored (!) stagecoach carrying a payroll and a Gatling gun is being pulled by a four-horse team at a fine rate of knots. In real life, it took a four-horse team just to pull a Gatling gun.

*As this stagecoach is tearing along at 25 mph, a sinister Hispanic sniper shoots at it from 500 yards with what looks like a Sharps, equipped with a scope with a modern reticle. He picks off the guys working the Gatling with the greatest of ease.

*The shotgun guard on the coach, who is using a hammer shotgun, doesn't know you have to cock the hammers. This is the same guy who gets shot in the gut a little later, so there may be some connection.

*Christian Bale plays a former Union Sharpshooter who lost a leg in the War of Northern Agression. This notwithstanding, he jumps off a building, rolls, and proceeds to run like a damn deer.

And so on, and so forth. The high point of the film for me was a young actor named Ben Foster, who plays a stone killer named Charlie Prince. Charlie Prince is the best stone killer since Jack Palance played Jack Wilson in Shane, and that was 50-plus years ago. And Russell Crowe is charming, and the gunfight at the end is worth it.

On balance, 3:10 to Yuma is worth the price of admission. But leave your brains in the lobby.


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Clay Cooper

I watched the movie shooter on DVD last night. Two things that jumps out at me. First is the sound track doesn’t match what the actors are saying and second, why should a movie director have a US Marine agreeing to assist in shooting the President of the United States? Here you got a Marine that assists with the reality that he is the bad guy and then becomes the hero?

What is it with the filmmakers of today, 3:10 to Yuma and Shooter?


Stupidity at it’s finest!

What happened to the quality of the movies like True Grit and Quigley Down Under?

I’m glad I didn’t pay for the DVD

Steve C

I find myself defending Hollywood at times (e.g., Saving Private Ryan) reminding people that they don’t make documentaries, they make entertainment. I’d guess that historically accurate movies would be a bit boring and go over the head of all but a tiny minority.

I understand that 3:10 To Yuma is entertaining if only for its sinister characters and scenery. An accurate representation of the old west it’s not. Unforgiven was much closer.


Normally I really enjoy these blogs but for some reason while I was reading this one I couldn't help picturing DEP standing in the office of one of the "Ffloggers" (or whatever they're called) while the guy hands him 20 bucks and says, "That was about the salmon run and still not one comment." DEP, laughing, says, "Double or nothing I can even do a movie review and get over 30."


Makes me feel ashamed and unworthy for having enjoyed it.


If Unforgiven was accurate, I'm glad I didn't live there. I mean, all the women in the west where whores and there were no good guys. I'll pass on Unforgiven being "accurate".

JA Demko

Haven't seen this remake. The original, with Glen Ford, is worth watching for Ford's performance. He's a very engaging badguy. He's a thief and a murderer, but he's actually pretty likeable.

Steve C

Bobby said: “… all the women in the west where whores and there were no good guys.”

Your attempt to overstate actually isn’t too far from the truth.

Young, unmarried women had few employment opportunities in the old west. Prostitution was legal and didn’t require an advanced degree so is often became a gravity issue, especially considering there were 3-4 times as many men as women. But they seldom looked like Miss Kitty and just as often died relatively young and destitute.

As for having no good guys, lawmen became outlaws and outlaws became lawmen on a somewhat revolving-door basis. Lynchings, racism, vigilante groups, pissed of Indians, cattle vs. sheep, rampant corruptions, ineffective government, frontier justice, greed, public executions, poor personal hygiene. And that was on a good day.


There is an old phrase - an axiom, really - about movies that seems appropriate here:

"Suspend your disbelief."


Dr. Ralph

If you want a taste of reality read Mark Twain's "Roughing It". It is a wonderful narrative about life in a silver mining town in Nevada in the 1870's. He was there. People were basically shot in the street in broad daylight with no more worries than having to kill the relatives and friends too. Every woman over fifteen that was not married was a prostitute. Well, actually due to the feminine shortage many were both married and prostitutes. It tells of men paying fifty dollars just to touch the blond hair of little girls that were passing through. As far as Hollyweird, the whole movie industry is so far out of touch with reality it is amazing they haven't all become Scientologists, built a spaceship and colonized Mars. My first inkling of this was when I noticed revolvers that could fire thirty rounds without reloading... that and the screeching tire noise on dirt roads. Anyhow, thanks for the heads up on "3:10 to Yuma". If it's anything close to "Unforgiven", "Saving Private Ryan", or "Quigley Down Under" it will be one I buy.
Better yet read everything Mark Twain ever wrote. I have and used to blog under the alias Sammy Langhorne. Dr. Ralph wrote an even more interesting book in the 1700's...


Despite its flaws, I loved it anyway........it is what it is, and odds are if you like westerns its definitely worth the price of admission. Watch a movie like this and your affection for single action revolvers or a .45-70 rifle can't help but bloom.

Bill Harris

thanks for the heads up on the new 3:10 To Yuma. I'm really not to crazy about today's westerns. Mostly for the reasons you mentioned in your review. However, I"ll I think I'll go see it. Crowe has made mosatly good movies and two or three really good ones. The original 3;10 TO yuma was several cuts above the westerns made back in the 50s I've allways thought Glen Ford was a great actor and Van Heflin under rated as an actor. Even with today's modern day hollywood " realism" and blood and gore it will have to go a long way to top the first one.

Ralph the Rifleman

It was an entertaining movie, and that is all I wanted it for...entertainment.



Thanks for "The War of Northern Aggression."

I'll even overlook your misspelling...

charlize theron

I like good old-fashioned-western-shoot 'em up-you-know-who-the good-guys-are-and-you-know-who-the-bad-guy-are movies. "Open Range" was great, as was "Silverado." They were entertaining. When I want history, I'll read a good book.

Blue Ox

I thought 'Tombstone' was pretty good. I'm not sure about the accuracy, but it was damn entertaining. Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday was priceless!

Evan, although I partially believe what you say “Suspend your disbelief." What I don’t agree with you and I’m sure Evan after thinking about it you would agree to that a lot of people believe in the movies that they do watch. Take the movies of Michael Moore. I’ve run across people that truly believe his crap. One lady said she has seen the movie about 911. So I asked her if I made a movie portraying her as a prostitute would it be true? Of course she wanted to kill me, I did get my point across and she finally agreed with me. I’ve find newspapers no deferent. Take a local doctor that was accused of pulling a gun in a medical clinic. The doctor is an employee of that clinic ran by a father and son. The business is in the sons name because the father is a convicted felon for drug and gun running. The witnesses said that the doctor did not pull a gun and the father and son is lying. However the local newspaper printed the story as if he had. I’ve talked to the witnesses myself and know the father and son first hand. Interesting thing that the newspaper said nothing about the father is a convicted felon for drug and gun running. The newspaper and the movies for some are held to be true. It’s to bad they don’t read the Bible and hold it to be true.

It’s all about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$


All of the movies mentioned definately rate a view as do several of those other westerns starring Tom Selleck. My all time favorite was the made for television LONESOME DOVE with Duvall and Jones. Perhaps not totally authenic and maybe a occasional lapse from reality (such as in the scene where Call's Hellbitch is obviously a gelding or when Gus's canteen goes flying from his hand on a bucking horse but is mysteriously there when he immediately remounts) but still very entertaining. That's about as good as its going to get.

Trae B.

if ya'll want a good shootin movie get "the punisher" it was really Really gory.but they had every weopon you can think of the dude even used a compound bow to take out gaurds silently.its not a western but it has near bout every gun made in it.

by the way my favorite western is with owen wilson and jackie chan shainghi knights.

Trae B.

wait no its shanghi noon.


it was both shainghi knights and shainghi noon i think there were two of them

Dr. Ralph

Man I forgot about Val as Doc Holliday! Best portrayal of any western character in any movie period... Ishawooa a friend of mine gave me the book "Lonesome Dove" when it first came out and I fell in love with Larry McMurtry. He has a whole lot of novels that should be made into feature films. I get the western channel on cable and watch "The Rifleman" and "Gunsmoke" nearly every day.


Didn't he write Brokeback Mountain, too? ;)


Dr. Ralph you are probably aware of the prequels and sequels to Lonesome Dove (Dead Man Walking, Streets of Loredo, etc). In spite of not caring for a lot of McMurtry's other books I found these to be almost as well done as the original. All were made into movies with limited success. Local libraries or eBay usually has copies of both the books and movies. Like everyone else I loved Tomestone and especially Kilmer as Holliday. One question I do ask is did every gunman be he good, bad, or ugly, pack an ivory handled pistol in old Arizona and were all of grips newly installed with little handling wear or yellowing? Guess they didn't prefer the original Colt's, walnut, or stag.


No one mentioned "Dances with Wolves". Great story, scenery, and very believeable. Was that a Winchester '66 golden boy that Costner killed the buffalo with? How about a Henry?


Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday WAS priceless. "I'm your huckleberry" has got to be one of the best lines in movie history. The best part is the shootout at OK corral where he gets off three shots from a double-barrel shotgun without reloading. I watched that part over three times, just to be sure he really did shoot three times!

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