‘3:10 to Yuma’ is a 2007 Western film directed by James Mangold that tells the tale of two men who embark on an improbable journey of understanding and respect. Dan Evans, a struggling rancher and veteran of war, seizes the chance to save his family’s property when notorious outlaw Ben Wade is apprehended in the remote hamlet of Bisbee. Dan takes the 3:10 train to Yuma Prison in Contention to join the posse charged with Wade’s imprisonment. As Ben fights for his freedom, the group must overcome numerous obstacles in order to survive the voyage.
The story of two individuals from various parts of the world who miraculously cross paths at a place of trust and respect is told in this movie, and it is immensely riveting. The movie “3:10 to Yuma,” starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, addresses the issues of morality and ethics through the characters of Dan and Ben, who represent a moral dilemma frequently seen in reality. How much of these characters are based in actuality, though? Let’s investigate!
Are Ben Wade and Dan Evans Real People?
Ben Wade and Dan Evans are not based on real individuals, though they may be. Instead, both characters had roots in earlier versions of their storylines, including those by Elmore Leonard in a 1953 short story and Delmer Daves in a 1957 film. However, Mangold gives Ben and Dan’s characters his own unique set of nuances and characteristics in his telling of the tale.
Ben and Dan are actually Jimmy Kidd and Deputy Marshal Paul Scallen in Leonard’s short novel “Three-Ten to Yuma,” which has a very different plot from its future equivalents. Regardless of the differences, the novella explores Kidd and Scallen’s motivations and functions as an examination of these particular individuals in a similar way to Mangold’s movie.
Contrarily, Crowe and Bale’s characters have variations and eccentricities that make them more sympathetic to a modern audience, despite being more obviously based on Daves’s eponymously titled Ben and Dan. For instance, Bale’s character, Dan Evans, introduces a unique element to the narrative by being a Civil War veteran with only one leg. Mangold and his writing staff establish a connection between Dan and the nation’s socio-political situation in 2007 without limiting Dan’s voice with any overt political pronouncements by providing his character with this rich past.
Dan’s journey, in which he seeks to win his family’s respect and love by upholding his ideals and his word, also contributes to the development of a more sympathetic character on a more general level. In fact, because of their steel-hardened ideals and genuine interactions with their truths and how it moulds their worldviews, both Dan and Ben are improved.
Of course, director Mangold used the same as a deliberate tool. “I don’t believe anyone could claim to identify with Ben Wade; if they did, they would either be incarcerated or living a very luxurious fantasy life. But the reality is that we all can relate to Wade’s ease, charisma, and grace as he embraces what he likes in the world and rejects what he doesn’t like, according to what he stated in an interview with Cineaste about his characters. We also relate to Christian [Bale’s] character’s reluctance and resistance to what modern life, as well as family life, can entail. Earning and maintaining the respect of your wife and children can be challenging in a society that values compromise and power over your own.
It’s also critical to remember that Ben’s experience, like Dan’s, is profoundly influenced by his relationship to parenthood. Ben does not have children of his own, but because his own father was not around when he was growing up, he has a mixed view of parenthood. As a result, Ben’s behaviour and choices near the end of the movie are greatly influenced by Dan’s role as a loving parent. These encounters that mould Ben and Dan’s personalities are ones that a lot of people can identify with.
Due to this, both characters’ authenticity is derived not just from their own personal ideas but also from their interactions with other characters—and most importantly, each other. As a result, these characters accurately portray real feelings and circumstances even though they aren’t based on actual individuals.