Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 6

Spectre of the Gun

Aired Unknown Oct 25, 1968 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Although the Earps and Doc Holliday walk four abreast, and even in a march (synchronized steps), the positions of the men in the line shift from scene to scene. Doc Holliday, for example, starts at the left end (as you look at them), moves one position right, and is on the right end as the four gunmen arrive at the Corral.

    • Maybe the whole thing is some weird test, but if the Melkotians' whole illusion thing can be dispelled by disbelief of the setting's realism... why is the whole thing so... unrealistic? Buildings have no wall, physical laws don't apply, etc. You'd think the Melkotians would want to make the setting as realistic as possible so the Enterprise people wouldn't disbelieve it and prevent their execution.

    • The gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place behind the O.K. Corral, not in it.

    • Maybe it's just a Melkotian/alien thing, but they don't seem to be in any big hurry to wipe out what they consider a "disease." They just let Kirk & Co. wander through their Tombstone movie set for a number of hours doing nothing. Even if they want to kill Kirk with something from his own memories, why don't they just plant him and the others down seconds before the Shootout begins? Instead they create a whole cast of irrelevant characters (Behan, Ed, Sylvia, the dental patient) for the landing party to interact with but who have nothing to do with killing them.

    • The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place at 2:47 p.m. in the afternoon, not 5:00 p.m. as indicated here.

    • The O.K. Corral we see here bears little resemblence to the real-life historical site - the actual Corral was more of an alley then a fenced-in circle. You'd think that Kirk, being a history buff, would have better "memories" of the location for the Melkotians to draw on. (In all fairness, most other TV and movie shows before and since that show the Corral don't get it right either.)

    • Is Scotty really planning on drinking half a gallon of Scotch in the middle of a dangerous life-and-death situation?

    • Why is Starfleet so big on contacting the Melkotians? In other episode like "Friday's Child," Kirk's said that they'll leave unaffiliated planets alone if requested (and the Capellans had a rare mineral Starfleet needed). They don't initially know the Melkotians are telepathic. Here he's supposed to "establish contact with the Melkotians at all costs" - if he's not speaking metaphorically, that means even at the cost of any number of crew lives.

    • For the first and only time in the series, Kirk refers to the ship's phasers (when he orders an attack on the Melkotian buoy) as "phaser guns."

    • Spock tells Kirk not to move his hands near his guns when Morgan Earp confronts him - Kirk does so anyway.

  • Quotes

    • Spock: True telepaths can be most formidable.

    • Spock: Captain. This afternoon you wanted to kill.
      McCoy: But he didn't kill, Mr. Spock.
      Spock: But he wanted to, Doctor.
      Kirk: Mr. Spock, you're exactly right.
      Spock: Mankind... ready to kill.
      Kirk: That's the way it was back in 1881.
      Spock: I wonder how humanity managed to survive.
      Kirk: We overcame our instinct for violence.

    • Spock: Physical reality is consistent with universal laws. Where the laws do not operate, there is no reality -- we judge reality by the responses of our senses. Once we are convinced of the reality of a given situation, we abide by its rules.

    • Spock: Physical laws simply cannot be ignored. Existence cannot be without them.

    • Melkotian: Captain did not kill. Is this the way of your kind?
      Kirk: It is. We fight only when there's no choice. We prefer the ways of peaceful contact. I speak for an alliance of fellow creatures who believe in the same thing. We have sought you out to join us. Our mission is still one of peace.

    • McCoy: We're just human beings, Spock. We don't have that clockwork ticker in our head like you do. We can't turn it on and off.

    • (Scotty takes a drink)
      Scotty: It's to kill the pain.
      Spopck: But this is painless.
      Scotty: Well, you should've warned me sooner, Mr. Spock.

    • (after Chekov dies)
      Spock: Gentlemen, there is one thing which requires the immediate attention of all of us--specifically, our future.
      Kirk: But not this minute, Spock. It takes us... a little longer.
      Spock: I understand the feeling, Captain.
      McCoy: You talk about another man's feelings. What do you feel, Spock?
      Spock: My feelings are not subject for discussion, Doctor.
      McCoy: Because there are no feelings to discuss!
      Scotty: Chekov is dead! I say it now, and I can hardly believe it, but you worked closely with him. That deserves some memorial.
      McCoy: Spock will have no truck with grief, Scotty. It's human.
      Kirk: Bones... Scotty...
      Spock: Captain... it's quite all right. They forget I am half human.

    • Kirk: Ouch.
      McCoy: What's the matter?
      Kirk: What do you call that stuff -- fire?
      McCoy: "Taos Lightning --" straight bourbon. Try some. In small amounts, it was considered medicinal.
      Kirk: Label it "For External Use Only".

    • Kirk: I'm not Ike Clanton!
      Ed: It's okay with me, Ike. Anything you say. Don't make no difference who I think you are. Your problem is, who does Wyatt Earp think you are?

    • Kirk: We haven't been born yet. Feel the material in my shirt. Now feel the material in your own shirt. Do you notice any difference?
      Ed: No.
      Kirk: Do these clothes look like yours?
      Ed: Not exactly.
      Kirk: Have you seen clothes like this?
      Ed: Sure.
      Kirk: Where?
      Ed: On the Clantons.

    • Sylvia: Billy, you were wonderful. (fawns over Chekov)
      Kirk: Um, Mr. Chekov ...
      Chekov: What can I do, Captain? You know we're always supposed to maintain good relations with the natives.

    • Bartender: You boys want your usual?
      Scotty: Absolutely. Half a gallon of scotch.
      Bartender: You know we ain't got nothin' but bourbon.

    • Spock: Captain, since we have seen that death is the one reality in this situation, I seriously suggest you reseat yourself immediately...without moving a muscle of either hand. If I remember correctly, that would involve you in what was called, "the fast draw". It initiated unfortunate events.

    • Behan: That's what I like about you, Ike. You always see the funny side.
      Kirk: I'm a barrel of laughs.

    • Melkotian: You...Captain Kirk, the disobedience was on your orders. Yours is the responsibility. Yours shall be the pattern of your death.
      Kirk: We come in peace. But we'll defend ourselves if necessary.
      Melkotian: You are outside. You are disease. The disease must be destroyed. Your plea has been heard, and sentence has been pronounced. It is done.

  • Notes

    • Originally it was intended for the role that Chekov played was to be played by another crewman and doesn't come back to life in the end.

    • Rex Holman, who plays Morgan Earp, would later appear in the fifth Trek movie as J'Onn.

    • DeForrest Kelley gets to play both sides of the fence - in the 1957 movie Gunfight at the O.K. Corral he played Morgan Earp.

    • This episode was written by Gene L. Coon under the pseudonymn Lee Cronin.

  • Allusions

    • McCoy: Taos Lightning
      There actually is such a thing - according to one recipe it was made with two quarts alcohol, a few burnt peaches, and a plug of black tobacco (rattlesnake heads added according to preference), all put together in a keg and filled with five gallons of water and left to sit. Yum. Some accounts say it was whiskey rather than bourbon though.

    • The Earps: Triplet Brothers
      In one interesting regard, this episode is actually more historically accurate then most movies revolving around the famous shootout - the Earp brothers were practically triplets, and this resemblence further bosltered their almost supernatural reputation. Deliberately or not, the three actors who play the Earps here, Rex Holman, Charles Maxwell, and Ron Soble, all bear a strong resemblence to each other.