3:10 To Yuma ! Prison That Is…


Yuma Territorial Prison.  Though the Hollywood Blockbuster movie was never about the prison it was about getting a criminal on the train (3:10 to Yuma) which would take him to the Yuma Prison.

Opened in 1876 and closed in 1909, this prison held a total of 3069 prisoners, 29 of which were women.  Some of the notable inmates included Burt Alvord (Train Robber), Pearl Hart (Stagecoach Robber), “Buckskin” Frank Leslie (Gunfighter and killer of Billy Claiborne) and Ricardo Flores Magon (Mexican revolutionary)

During it’s 33 years in existence 112 inmates died at the prison but believe it or not, most of those were from tuberculosis.  8 were killed trying to escape, 6 killed themselves, 5 died in work accidents, 2 were killed by other inmates and 1 was executed by Yuma county. 

If a prisoner became unruly they were thrown in the ‘Dark Cell’, basically a 15X15 cell carved inside the rocks.  Inmates were stripped to their undergarments and thrown in.  Their one meal a day consisted of bread and water and the cell had no bedding or restroom facilities.  Colleen and I walked into the ‘Dark Cell’ and it was Erie, there was a horrid stench that I assume goes all the way back to the first guest.

several others including the original 3:10 to Yuma with Glenn Ford.  Other movies include ‘To Kill A Memory’ (2012), ‘Riot’ (1969) with Gene Hackman, ‘The Badlanders’ (1958) with Alan Ladd and the ‘Red River Valley’ (1936) with Gene Autry.

Colleen and I enjoyed our self guided tour of the prison, we both read and soaked up the history of the place.  Even Hollywood loved this place.  Apart from the 3:10 to Yuma with Russell Crowe, there were 


If you are in the Yuma area, stop in and learn a bit of local history.  Well worth the $8 admission.  I will also add a gallery of picture so look for that.  Have fun everyone…Kevin

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Author: Kevin

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