This fine western opens with Van Heflin as a rancher whose family is suffering from the devastatingeffects of a long drought. Heflin needs $200 to build a well, then learns he can obtain the money as a reward for delivering Glenn Ford, a notorious outlaw now in the hands of the law, to the state prison in Yuma, Arizona. Though this will put Heflin in great personal danger, the peaceful man accepts the assignment, knowing what the money will mean to his family. Heflin and Ford hole up in a small hotel in another town while waiting for the train to Yuma. The outlaw begins toying with Heflin's mind, talking in a friendly manner about Heflin's job and financial situation. Playing psychologicalgames, Ford tries to convince Heflin to take $100,000 to look the other way while he escapes. Heflin finds himself in a quandary, desperately needing the money yet being bound by his word to carry out the job. Ford's gang, led by Jaeckel, discovers where their leader is hidden and sets out to rescue h
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Struggling rancher and family man Van Heflin sneaks captured outlaw Glenn Ford out from under the eyes of his gang and nervously awaits the prison train in this tight, taut Western in the High Noon tradition. Adapted from an Elmore Leonard story, this tense Western thriller is boiled down to its essential elements: a charming and cunning criminal, an initially reluctant hero whose courage and resolution hardens along the way, and a waiting game that pits them in a battle of wills and wits. Glenn Ford practically steals the film in one of his best performances ever: calm, cool, and confident, he's a ruthless killer with polite manners and an honorable streak. Director Delmer Daves (Broken Arrow) sets it all in a harsh, parched frontier of empty landscapes, deserted towns, and dust, creating a brittle quiet that threatens to snap into violence at any moment. --Sean Axmaker
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