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Mike Chen

Professor Ortega

Sociology 1

19 March 2017

Walk Away, from 3:10 to Yuma

The video I will be analyzing today is titled Walk Away. This is a scene from the movie

3:10 to Yuma by James Mangold, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. This scene shows

Dan Evans (a farmer, former war veteran who is married and has two children), Dan Evanss son

William, Ben Wade (an outlaw), and a railroad agent named Grayson Butterfield inside a hotel

room in Contention. Dan Evans initially tagged along to help escort Ben Wade to the train station

in Contention for a $200 reward. Dan Evans accepted the offer because he wanted to restore his

sense of honor for his wife and children after his barn was burned down for not paying off his

debt in a timely manner. Dan Evans also wants to show that he is a man of his word, and he will

continue to work toward paying off his debt until the day he dies. Now Dan Evanss son,

William, sneaked out of the house at night and followed Dan Evans. Dan Evans later realized

that William was following him. William would not walk back home. And so Dan Evans let

William tag along.

Right before the scene in Walk Away, there were police escorts that Dan Evans

followed. As soon as the police escorts found out that Ben Wades right-hand man, Charlie

Prince, along with Ben Wades gang, surrounded the hotel complex and placed a bounty on Dan

Evans, the police escorts surrendered. However, as soon as the police escorts walked out to the

front porch and dropped their weapons as a sign of surrender, Charlie prince and Ben Wades

gang shot and killed each and every one of them. This is where the scene Walk Away comes in.
Grayson Butterfield is scared by Charlie Princes killing of the police escorts. Dan Evans,

William, and Grayson Butterfield were outnumbered at this point. There was also a bounty called

by Charlie Prince for successfully killing Dan Evans. Grayson Butterfield was ready to

surrender, giving Dan Evans his $200 reward despite not escorting Ben Wade to board the train

to Yuma Prison yet. Instead of accepting Grayson Butterfields offer, Dan Evans counters him

with a different offer: Deliver $1,000 cash dollars to his wife and children if he does not survive

after escorting Wade to the train. Dan Evans also tells Grayson Butterfield to escort his son,

William, back home safely. Grayson Butterfield agrees, but William does not. Dan Evans gives

William a reassuring talk, saying that his mom needs a man at the ranch if he dies. Dan Evans

reassures William that he can become the man of the household if he dies, for William has the all

the best traits of him, admitting that he has very few desirable traits to pass on to William and his

brother. William hesitantly agrees, and Grayson Butterfield escorts William away to hide in the

hotel while Dan Evans prepares to escort Ben Wade to the train station and avoiding the bounty

placed on him at the same time. Dan Evanss last hope is that William and his brother will

remember him as the only person that was brave enough to escort Ben Wade to board the train to

Yuma Prison. Now, I wonder how Auguste Comte, Karl Marx, and Emile Durkheim would

critique Walk Away.

To begin, Auguste Comte was a French sociologist and philosopher who wanted to

establish a science of society that would reveal the basic laws of society (Witt 11). Comte

sought to establish sociology in the wake of a transition from religious explanations to scientific

explanations of the happenings and workings of society. Comte defined two basic principles that

society functions on. One of these basic principles is called social statics, defined as the

principles by which societies hold together and order is maintained (Witt 11). The other basic
principle is called social dynamics, defined as the factors that bring about change and that shape

the nature and direction of that change (Witt 11). From these two basic principles, Comte coined

the term sociology, which literally means the study of the processes of companionship (Witt

11). Now, in regard to Walk Away, I think that Comte would say that the social statics and the

social dynamics in this video are well-balanced. Comte would say that Dan Evanss choice to

escort Ben Wade to the train station to board the train headed to Yuma Prison is a social dynamic.

Comte would say that this is a social dynamic because there is a significant possibility that Dan

Evans escorting Ben Wade successfully to board the train to Yuma Prison will cost Dan Evans

his life. And if Dan Evans loses his life, then he will be leaving behind his wife and two sons.

The social statics in Walk Away would be the $1,000 that Dan Evans asked Grayson

Butterfield to deliver to his wife and children and the talk that Dan Evans has with William.

$1,000 in the time of 3:10 to Yuma would be considered a significant amount of money. $1,000

would be enough for Dan Evanss family to adjust to life without him should he die while

escorting Ben Wade. Finally, the talk that Dan Evans has with William helps William understand

the reasoning behind Dan Evanss actions, and lets William know that he has the best traits of

him. Overall, Dan Evans is reassuring William that he is ready to become the man of the

household should he die.

Next, Karl Marx believed that power and control over resources played [a role] in how

social order is established and maintained (Witt 12). Marxs focus was on social inequality, and

he believed that inequality is determined by ownership, or lack thereof, of key material

resources (Witt 11). Marx would then see in Walk Away, or 3:10 to Yuma if he watched the

whole movie, that the situation Dan Evans is in stems from his lack of money. Dan Evans was
facing social inequality, and he was desperate to pay off the debt that robbed his family of a

peace of mind. The burning of Dan Evanss barn by his debt collectors was a wakeup call.

Finally, Emilie Durkheim emphasized the significance of social order (Witt 12).

Durkheim feared anomie, or a weak sense of social solidarity due to a lack of agreed-upon rules

to guide behavior. Anomie increases the likelihood of loneliness, isolation, and despair (Witt

12). Durkheim would see the talk between Dan Evans and William as a good example of anomie.

William was hesitant to accept the fact that his father, Dan Evans, wanted to escort Ben Wade to

the train by himself despite having a bounty on him. The chances of Dan Evans dying is high due

to the bounty, and his decision to escort Ben Wade to the train could cost him his life. If Dan

Evans loses his life, then he will be leaving behind his wife and two sons. Dan Evanss wife will

be a widow, and their two sons will no longer have a father figure. Dan Evanss two sons would

then have to become mature at an early age and thus Dan Evanss family will face anomie if he

dies.

Watching Walk Away over several times, I have come to the conclusion that the

sociological paradigm best represented by this clip is the symbolic interactionist theory.

Interactionist theory states that society is the product of our everyday interactions (with parents,

friends, or strangers) through which we establish shared meanings and thus construct order

(Witt 16). In these daily interactions, things such as language, ideas, symbols, and meanings are

produced. In Walk Away, Dan Evans and his son William have a talk with one another

regarding Dan Evanss decision to escort Ben Wade all by himself to the train station despite

having a bounty for his death on him. Dan Evans is implicitly acknowledging to William that he

understands the risks that come with his decision to escort Ben Wade to the train for $1,000. At

the same time, Dan Evans is telling William that he is prepared to become the man of the
household should the situation call for it, and that he has all the best traits of his father (Dan

Evans) in him. William then understands that he too possesses the willpower to make sacrifices

for his family just like his father would. Whether or not Dan Evans survives after escorting Ben

Wade to board a train would have no negative effect on Williams self-esteem whatsoever.

William will grow into a mature adult, knowing that his father was willing to escort a highly

dangerous outlaw to board a train all by himself and with a bounty for his death ordered upon

him. Overall, the idea William would take in is that anything can be accomplished as long as you

put your mind to it. William will then be influential toward his little brothers behavior, along

with the behavior of the people in his future due to Dan Evanss words.
Works Cited

Witt, Jon. SOC 2016. Fourth ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2016. Print.