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Star Trek - Spectre of the Gun

episode 3.6
Raumschiff Enterprise - Wildwest im Weltraum

USA 1968
produced by
Fred Freiberger, Gene Roddenberry (executive) for Norway Corporation, Paramount/NBC
directed by Vincent McEveety
starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Ron Soble, Bonnie Beecher, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Charles Maxwell, Rex Holman, Sam Gilman, Charles Seel, Bill Zuckert, Ed McCready, Abraham Sofaer (voice)
written by Gene L. Coon (as Lee Cronin), created by Gene Roddenberry, music by Jerry Fielding

TV series
Star Trek, Classic Star Trek, Star Trek (original crew), Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday

review by
Mike Haberfelner

The Enterprise want to enter orbit of Melkot, a so far unexplored planet, but are warned off by a telepathic voice (Abraham Sofaer), as apparently the Melkotians think humans are warmongering creatures. Of course, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and company won't listen, so suddenly he and his landing party - Spock (Leonard Nimoy), McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan) and Chekov (Walter Koenig) - find themselves in a half-built Western town, and all their modern gadgets are gone and their fazers replaced with handguns. A little investigation reveals to them that they're in Tombstone, where everybody thinks they're the Clantons - with Chekov being Billy Claiborne -, and the Wyatt Earp (Ron Soble) and his brothers (Charles Maxwell, Rex Holman) and Doc Holliday (Sam Gilman) are zeroing in on them for the legendary gunfight at O.K. Corral - which is to be this very day. Now this is worrying as our heroes figure one can't change history - even if they're obviously in a mock Western town - and the Clantons lost the gunfight. So of course, Kirk and company are concerned, and they even try to talk the Earps out of things, but to no avail. Only one of the crew isn't worried, Chekov, who has a romance going on with a bargirl (Bonnie Beecher) - and as a result of that, he's shot dead by the Clantons. This is of course tragic, but also gives the others hope, because Billy Claiborne did actually survive the gunfight at O.K. Carrol to live another day - which means history can be changed. The problem is of course how, because when McCoy tries to build a tranquilizer bomb, it fails to work, even though even Spock confirms there's no reason this shouldn't work. But this gives Spock an idea, if the tranquilizer doesn't work, then maybe it isn't real, thus bullets might not be real either - and thus he hypnotizes the others into not believing in bullets, so at the gunfight, the Clantons and Holliday empty their guns in vain, and ultimately, Kirk gives Wyatt Earp a good beating but refrains from killing him - which in turn convinces the Melkotians that the humans are not as warmongering as thought and have good in them, and thus not only are human welcome on the planet, also Chekov's restored to life again.


A fun episode for sure, as seeing the familiar faces of Shatner and company in historic enviroments trying to figure out a puzzle to avert certain doom is always a good premise, and despite the occasional plothole or inaccuracy it's handled very well here, mainly because the story uses the characters to good effect and despite glimpses of humour it doesn't go all goofy. And the sets - a mock only half-finished Western town in front of permanently red skies - are rather impressive, especially knowing that they're actually a compromise since an outside shoot would have been outside of budget restraints, as would have been a fully built Western town on a soundstage. But the town as it is gives the episode an almost allegorical quality.

An entertaining watch for sure, and deservedly a fan favourite.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD