Ah, the classic western. Although somewhat of an acquired taste, once you develop that taste, you're hooked.
The story of Dan Evans and Ben Wade (played by Van Heflin and Glenn Ford, respectively), a poor farmer and a charismatic highwayman and the pursuit of justice, even when it's against all odds.
I saw this movie after having seen the remake starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, and, admittedly, that was a mistake. The action packed sequences and amazing final shootout of that remake make the original seem slow and drawn out, even focused on the wrong parts of the story.
But, standing back, I see that the film, for it's time, really is amazing. Beautiful desert landscapes encompass a storyline that makes you feel ambivalent the entire time as to who you should be cheering for. Wade, although the clear antagonist of the story, is very charming, and compares to the depression era gangsters and bank robbers who, although criminals, were admired by the people.
Evans, on the other hand, also evokes sympathy, as the common man, struggling to make ends meet not only for himself, but for his family.
Most of the film takes place in the town of Contention, AZ, waiting for the train to Yuma. Here, Evans finally rallied my complete support when, despite being abandoned by the rest of his posse, insists on finishing the job because it's the right thing to do. Conversely, Wade loses support as he tries desperately to have Evans killed by his crew.
Overall, the film is a feel good movie, albeit devoid of action for about 80% of the time. If action is what you're craving, see the remake, which is a stance I rarely take, but in this instance, appropriate.