Like pretty much every western made, 3:10 to Yuma explores masculinity and the struggle to restore balance to his community. This time, this classic western follows an impoverished rancher who suffered from a drought and his risky job accompanying an outlaw to justice.
The film is based on a 1953 short story by Elmore Leonard and even inspired a remake starring Russel Crowe.
A Fistful of Dollars (Sergio Leone, 1964)
The film has aged really well considering it's from 1964. The Man With No Name (Clint Eastwood) rolls into a village of San Miguel in the middle of a power struggle between the Rojo brothers. Of course, Eastwood inserts himself right into the battle with plans of his own.
Shots of menacing faces and forbidding landscapes almost make this western feel like a comic book.
The Assassination of Jesse James (2007)
This western revisionist film dramatizes the relationship between "wild west" legends Jesse James (Brad Pitt) and Robert Ford (Casey Affleck) and causes on the events that led up to the actual assassination. Beyond the gripping story, the film has one of the best scores in recent cinema.
Oddly enough, it's taken about 10 years for this film to get the recognition it truly deserves.
Day of the Outlaw (André De Toth, 1959)
Cattleman Blaise Starrett (Robert Ryan) and farmer Hal Crane (Alan Marshal) get into a nasty dispute that borders on danger. That all changes when their town is under siege from a band of thugs. Our hero Starrett rises to the challenge and attempts to restore his name.
With great cinematography that captures the helpless townspeople, André De Toth creates a truly gripping western.
Forty Guns (Samuel Fuller, 1957)
Some Western romance we have here. When a cattle queen gun "lord" falls for an upstanding sheriff, things get messy. There are a lot of guns and a lot of violence, but at least a feel-good Hollywood "fixes it all" moment.
It's also interesting to know that this Samuel Fuller classic had a ridiculously low budget was shot in 10 days.