|“||This town's gonna burn!!||„|
|~ Charles Prince swearing revenge after Ben Wade is arrested.|
Charlie Prince is the secondary, later true main antagonist of the Western short story 3:10 to Yuma and its films, serving as the right hand man of the main antagonist Ben Wade.
He was portrayed by Ben Foster in the 2007 film, and the late Richard Jaeckel in the 1957 film.
Charlie Prince is the right hand man of the outlaw Ben Wade and his gang. Unlike other characters, Prince has been, besides the protagonist and main antagonist, to be in both films. Prince has been portrayed as a ruthless, diabolical, and cold-blooded killer, often combining amazing marksmanship with his sadistic attitude, and takes joy in killing his victims. He shows his sadism during the attack on the stagecoach and burning of a deputy. Throughout the film he employs intelligence and wit to overcome his enemies, like making a deal with Contention's sheriffs that he'll spare them, but kills them instead and removes the threat, or like he turned the whole city of Contention against its lawmen by promoting a reward of $200 for everyone who can kill even a single of Wade's captors. However, unlike Wade, Prince does not have a reputation, and nobody really knows that he killed that specific victim, nor anyone survived to live and tell the tale. This is seen when he successfully enters a precinct and leads all the sheriffs and deputies away from town without being captured. During the aftermath of the ambush of the stagecoach, he asks a Pinkerton (portrayed by Peter Fonda) if he knows who Prince is, though the Pinkerton, whose name is Byron McElroy, didn't answered the question specifically, it is hinted that he doesn't know when Prince manages to ride through town and kills two people successfully, and Byron didn't saw that coming.
Although being like this, he shows his loyalty to his boss, Ben Wade. In the 2007 film, when Wade was captured by Bisbee's sheriffs, he went furious and killed a deputy and a local, threatening the others that the "town's gonna burn". Prince and the others later attacked a coach that was supposed to have Wade captive, upon discovering that it was just a decoy, he burns it and the deputy inside in frustration. When one of Wade's gang said that Wade wasn't that worth the risk and can be easily replaced, he hits him and threatens him to "never forget what [Wade] done for [them]". They continued their pursuit upon learning that Wade will be taken to Contention for his transfer to Yuma Territorial Prison and be sentenced, and went on even with the knowledge that the horses will die before they can get there.
They arrived in Contention, and surrounds the inn Wade is being held at. He offers reward to those who can kill even one of Wade's captors. Seeing the enemy tripled in numbers, the local sheriff tried to make truce to Prince. But after coming out of the inn unarmed, Prince and the gang massacred them all. When a deputized rancher named Dan Evans (portrayed by Christian Bale) made a bold move to escort Wade to the train even with gunfire blazing, Prince tried to make sure none of those gunfires hit Wade. When Wade got shot in the shoulder, Prince killed the shooter and others who were just blind firing. The train to Yuma arrives and Dan tries to get Wade on it, Prince continued to pursuit even though wounded and nearly trampled to death by a herd of cows. Prince successfully kills Dan and frees his boss. Prince tried to comfort his boss upon the rancher's death, but gets shot in the chest by Wade himself together with other members of the gang. Even though bloody, Prince showed his undying loyalty to his boss by not fighting back and letting Wade shoot him a second time in the chest.
Though no direct evidence or answers, it is heavily implied in the 2007 film that Prince is homosexual or an androgynous and is in love to Wade, though there were no such things in the previous film and short story. Imdb highlighted this, saying "there is an implication. McElroy refers to him as Charlie 'Princess', and gets a bullet in return". Website After Elton compared Prince with other homosexual character in film history like Buffalo Bill and Xerxes. This is seen in the saloon, Prince accompanies Wade as he chats up Emmy (Vanessa Shaw), a barkeep whom he quickly beds. As Wade pitches woo at Emmy, Prince tries to take Wade's attention away from her but to no avail. Prince refuses to even look at her, except once to give her a look that he doesn't like her. As Wade and Emmy commence, Prince leaves the saloon in a silent but emotional fatigue.
In the 2007 film, Charlie Prince carries two Schofield Model 3 revolvers in butts-forward holsters also built by Will Ghormley. Ghormley also designed Prince's holsters. Thell Reed extensively trained Foster in multiple quick draw and spinning techniques prior to filming. These Schofields was also used by Wade to kill Prince. But in the 1957 film, he used a Colt Peacemaker, the only pistol to appear like what everyone else in the film used. Will Ghormley, the armorer, felt the arched back in the holsters impeded Ben Foster’s ability to draw. Ultimately the arches were removed even though they were period correct. Also the holsters on the final rig were made ‘baggier’ than the holster on the prototype so Ben could holster his pistols with less resistance. But in the 1957 film, he used a Colt Peacemaker, the only pistol to appear like what everyone else in the film used.
Charlie wears a bone-white leather jacket with buttons appearing to be Royal Army Pay Corps (RAPC) buttons which include a lion over a crown over a scroll which reads “Fide et Fiducia” which means “By fidelity and confidence” or ” trust and be trusted”. Baron Hats made Charlie's hat which they called “The Trigger man”. Sales of these items increased during the release of the film.