HE reader Lois Steinberg has offered her two cents on the ending to 3:10 to Yuma, particularly as she thinks others on this site “may have missed the point.” I’ve edited the fat out and rescrambled a bit, but she’s reading the finale pretty much the way director James Mangold explained it me a few weeks back:
“After the Wade gang takes over the stage with the loot, it turns out one of the marshalls is still alive and grabs one of Wade’s men and threatens to kill him if the gang doesn’t put down their guns,” she begins. “Wade (Russell Crowe) tells him (although he’s really addressing the entire gang) that his guy screwed up, was sloppy and put them all at risk…and shoots him in the neck. That’s what happens if you screw up by not doing what he says.
“I think at the end he sees that Charlie (Vince Foster) and his gang are out of control. Their paying the townspeople to shoot Wade’s captors has turned to chaos and he is at as much risk as Dan (Christina Bale). Charlie doesn’t just shoot Dan once, but again and again, not waiting for word from his boss.
“Wade is the puppet master, and he doesn’t like that the situation got out of his control. So he totally cleans house.
I don’t think the ending means Wade had a change of heart. He just wanted a new staff.
“Dan knew he wasn’t going to make it, though like many in today’s world he was too willing to see people through rose-colored glasses of their own values.
“Wade kept telling both Dan and his son he was no good. He just had his preferences and as long as he called the shots and had control, he could be be…well, not so much ‘kind’ as, for a moment, not a killer.”