Sometimes I’m late on movies. 3:10 to Yuma starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale came out in 2007, and I just watched it. My girlfriend said it’s an excellent movie and for an action film I to take her word on it. I loved it. The picture was beautiful, great acting from all the characters, and the action scenes were phenomenal.
If it’s one thing that can make a movie great, it is learning a new understanding. If you don’t have a new understanding of life after watching a movie, then either it wasn’t great, or it just wasn’t’ meant to have a moral lesson. Then again, it all depends on how you look at the movie too.
I learned why Dan Evans and Ben Wade lived the lives they did throughout the film. Their moral conflict showed me that doing good or evil is always a choice no matter what circumstances you are in. Dan Evans had all the excuses to live an unlawful life. He was a Vietnam veteran and came back with a prosthetic leg. It didn’t seem like it hindered his work capabilities too much, but the government didn’t care as much for their wounded warriors back then. The government gave him $200 for the lost leg and sent him on his way. Later in the movie Dan Evans learned that the $200 from the government wasn’t so that he could walk away, but so that the government could walk away from caring for their wounded soldier.
Dan Evans had debt with a man because he could not produce a profit on his ranch because there was a drought for three years. Ben Wade called Dan stubborn for keeping his family on a dry ranch. Dan explained that his son had tuberculosis and Dan had to keep his son in a dry climate or else he would die.
Dan had no choice but to keep his family in a dry climate and he could not make a profit from the drought, so he had the opportunity to deliver an outlaw (Ben Wade) to a prison train to Yuma. The $200 offered to deliver the outlaw would get his family out of debt and live a comfortable life. Throughout the movie, Dan’s morale was tested. He was offered better deals by the outlaw and by his comrades. First, Ben Wade offered Ben $200 to let him free. That would have been easier than to fight Ben Wade’s gang. It’s not like Dan was a Sheriff. He was just a regular guy looking for a way to feed his family. But, Dan wanted to live a righteous life. Even when he was offered an easy way out, he chose to keep his word and deliver the outlaw to justice.
Then the sheriff proposed to give Dan $200 to walk away. Dan continued to decline. He didn’t want an easy way out or demand a higher salary for delivering the outlaw. He only wanted what the sheriff initially offered. Eventually, all the other persons who were to help deliver Ben Wade to Yuma either got killed or ran away. Dan ordered his son to leave because he felt the mission was too dangerous for him. Then, Dan and Ben were alone. No one would know if Dan gave up on the mission and took an easier and more profitable offer. Ben tried to make one last offer to Dan, and Dan still refused, which taught me that it can be easier to do the right thing around other people, but it is even more important to do the right thing when no one is looking.
At the end of the movie Dan Evans got the outlaw on the train to Yuma and got killed by Ben Wade’s gang. Sometimes doing the right thing doesn’t end in a glorious feeling of accomplishment. If Dan took any of those offers to free the outlaw and go back to his family, he probably would have got back home alive and lived with his family out of debt. Is this a way of saying that you can be too stubborn by doing the right thing? Well, even when a choice we make will not affect us, it can affect someone else. What if Dan had taken an offer to run with his son with him? His son would grow up thinking that morality is only beneficial for ones’ benefit and possibly grow up living the life of Ben Wade.
If Dan had taken an offer to run when no one was looking, then Ben could have thought of Dan as equally corrupt as himself and killed him anyway. He would probably go back to Dan’s wife and take her for his pleasure since he would have lost respect for Dan. The film didn’t show what happened to Ben when he willingly got on the train. Given the fact that he escaped twice before, I believe that this time was different. I don’t think that Ben would escape from Yuma. I believe Dan’s morality changed him, and he would take his punishment of being hanged.