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|“||Ya'll notice, he didn't mention any of the lives I've taken?||„|
Ben Wade is the main, later secondary antagonist in the 1957 western film, 3:10 to Yuma and it's 2007 remake. He is portrayed by Glenn Ford in the original version and Russell Crow in the remake. He is the leader of a violent and merciless gang of western outlaws who are known for robbing coaches, murdering innocent people, and generally terrorizing the old west.
Looting the coach
Wade is first seen watching as his loyal gang execute a coordinated attack on an armored stagecoach which is carrying a delivery of cash. Despite the best efforts of Pinkerton agents and the best weapons possible, the gang is still able to overtake and destroy the coach. As Wade's gang begin to execute survivors, Wade looms over his nemesis, Byron McElroy, a Pinkerton agent who he has apparantly had run ins with before but does not kill him. Just then, a surviving agent holds one his men hostage but Wade shoots both of them and executes him for "endangering his crew". He then notices Dan Evans and his sons watching from the hills. He knows that they pose no threat to him. He approaches them and returns Dan's cattle which he was using as a road block but takes Dan's horses to prevent them from following him and says that he can pick them up on the road to Bisbee, Arizona.
In Bisbee, Wade and his men enjoy a celebratory drink at the local Saloon. After wooing a female bartander, Wade unexpectedly encounters Dan while he is attempting to confront Glen Hollander to whom Dan owes money. Wade politely pays Dan for the missed day's work but begins to grow impatient when Dan demands more. But this was actually a distraction: railroad guards then rush in and arrest him.
On the road to ContentionThe railroad owner then enlists McElroy, Doc Potter and Tucker, to deliver Wade to a prison train where he will be taken to Yuma Territorial prison where he eventually be hanged. On the way to the train in Contention, Wade kills Tucker for annoying him and McElroy for insulting his mother. In the wake of attacking McElroy, Wade takes his shotgun and is nearly able to escape but Dan's son, Henry Evans appears and holds Wade at gunpoint, angrily fires a warning shot, and orders Wade to drop the gun. Wade complies, realizing he's beaten for the moment. However, the next night, Wade does escape during an Apache attack and ends up at a Chinese laborer camp but is captured by the foreman for killing his brother. The group eventually catch up and regain custody of the prisoner. Potter is killed in the ensuing shootout but the group are able to escape and head to Contention.
Last ditch effort
By this point, Wade's gang, led by Charlie Prince, have begun to catch up with the group. Everyone begins to abandon the mission except for Dan who refuses to be bought off or intimidated regardless of the fact that Prince has bribed the entire town into joining the effort to free Wade. After a prolonged and chaotic shootout, Dan successfully escorts Wade away from the town but Wade suddenly attacks and nearly escapes but relents after Dan reveals the reason why he cares so much about fulfilling the mission: It would serve as an accomplishment that would erase his reputation as a coward and earn him a legacy his sons could be proud of. Wade, out of pure kindness, allows Dan to put him on the train, knowing that he can escape and Dan wouldn't care due to the fact that his contract only includes putting him on the train. However, Wade's gang do not know about this. Wade boards the train and congratulates Dan but at that moment, Dan is gunned down by Prince despite Wade shouting "NO!!". As Wade looks solemnly at Dan as the latter is dying, he turns towards Prince and the gang and shoots the thugs with lightning fast shots. Wade grabs Prince who is still standing and after a tense moment of silence, executes him in revenge for Dan's death. Henry Evans appears and draws his gun on Wade but lets him go and turns towards his dying father after telling him that he is proud. Wade boards the train and surrenders his gun. After pondering the situation, Wade whistles and his horse gallops after the train.
Personality, Weapons, and Skills
Wade's personality is complex. While Wade is the leader of a marauding gang of murderers and bandits, he is not particularly violent unless provoked as opposed to Charlie Prince who shoots and tortures innocent people at random and for little to no reason at all. Despite what Wade claims, he is not as bad as he portrays himself as and commits almost as many good deeds as he does bad. His ultimate redeeming factor is allowing Dan to put him on the prison train to create an accomplishment that his sons could be proud of. Despite knowing that he could escape at will. He and Dan also develop a true respect for each other. This is shown when Wade kills his gang in revenge for Dan's death but was clearly not keeping up the act for Dan's son as he didn't know he there. He also has a tragic past. As a boy, he was abandoned by his suicidal mother who told him to read a bible she had given him while waiting for a train. He had read the entire bible. It must be noted, however, that Wade's redemption is debatable. Wade kills his gang but it is not clear whether this the gun's curse or Wade's own personal revenge. Wade undoubtedly escapes at the end of the film but it is not explained what the motivations for this are.
Wade carries a Colt Single Action Army revolver as his main sidearm. The gun is said to be "cursed". As anyone who touches it, other than Wade is eventually killed. He is also extremely fast and accurate,being able to outdraw several other characters through out the film, even his own men.