3:10 - Agin'?

I'm not overly fond of movies made from books, and especially films made from OTHER movies. They say remakes fill an artistic void or a drive to financial gain. In any case, it can seem more like re-treading a tire than creating memorable screen moments. To illustrate my point, compare the following three versions of a well-known western tale.

It all starts with a spare, intense short story by Elmore Leonard published in a dime western magazine in the early 1950s. Two men, one law-abiding (Paul Scallen), the other law-busting (Jim Kidd), psychologically duke it out against the backdrop of a small dry Arizona town. It hasn't rained in Contention City for weeks and the cattle are dying. It's called "Three-ten to Yuma".

Then jump to a beautifully photographed black and white Delmer Daves film in 1957 also called 3:10 to Yuma with Van Heflin (Dan Evans) and Glenn Ford (Ben Wade). You'll note that the characters names have completely changed for reasons known only to the creators. A "love interest" theme with bittersweet links to the past is added to fill the genre definition of Adult Western. No rain, cattle dying, still Contention City.

Morph ahead several decades (2007) to view a full Technicolored bloodbath version of - you guessed it- 3:10 to Yuma. We're in Contention and it still hasn't rained. This time Christian Bale plays Dan Evans and Russell Crowe gets to be Ben Wade. This version has a lot more murdering and thieving included. One of the major characters gets killed off.

All of these versions use the recurrent theme of friendship blooming under unlikely circumstances, i.e. growing respect for someone who’s your direct opposite trumping the usual misgivings. To see how well the themes were carried out compare and contrast. What do you think?