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The Gunfighters: Misc


Dr Who

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

"...and your one consolation is the Last Chance Saloon..."
―Steven Taylor
The Gunfighters
Series: Doctor Who - TV Stories
Season Number: Season 3
Story Number: 25
Doctor: First Doctor
Companions: Steven Taylor
Dodo Chaplet
Enemy: Johnny Ringo
Setting: Tombstone, Arizona, 1881
Writer: Donald Cotton
Director: Rex Tucker
Broadcast: 30th April - 21st May 1966
Format: 4 25-minute episodes
Previous Story: The Celestial Toymaker
Following Story: The Savages

The Gunfighters was the eighth story of Season 3 of Doctor Who. This was the last serial whose episodes had individual titles until the 2005 series.



The TARDIS arrives in the town of Tombstone in the Wild West and the Doctor, having hurt a tooth on one of Cyril's sweets, decides he must visit a dentist. The local dentist is Doc Holliday, currently engaged in a feud with the Clanton family. Lawmen Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson are meanwhile doing their best to keep the peace.

The Doctor, Steven and Dodo narrowly survive a lynch mob, the attentions of Holliday and Earp and various other dangers; they finally return to the TARDIS after witnessing the famous gunfight at the OK Corral, in which the young Clanton brothers and their gunman ally Johnny Ringo are all killed by Holliday, Earp and Earp's brother Virgil.


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to be added

Story Notes

  • This story had the working titles; The Gun-Fighters and The Gunslingers.
  • Thunderbirds voice artistes David 'Brains' Graham and Shane 'Scott Tracy' Rimmer appear as Charlie the barman and Seth Harper respectively. Graham had also provided Dalek voices for a number of earlier Doctor Who stories.
  • The caption at the end of the final episode reads Next Episode: Dr. Who and the Savages. The Gunfighters was the last story to have individual episode titles.
  • Patrick Troughton was one of the actors considered for the role of Johnny Ringo.
  • The serial features an original song, "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon", the last time an original song would be commissioned for the series until "Song for Ten" in The Christmas Invasion. "Ballad" is performed off-screen by Lynda Baron, who years later would appear in the serial Enlightenment.
  • Episode 1 carries the title "A Holiday for the Doctor", the first and only episode of the original series to incorporate the "correct" name of The Doctor (as opposed to an episode of The Chase called "The Death of Doctor Who" and the 1970 serial Doctor Who and the Silurians, both of which used the technically incorrect "Doctor Who"). The only other televised episodes (to date) to include the name "The Doctor" in an episode title were the 2005 episode The Doctor Dances and the 2008 episode The Doctor's Daughter.
  • This was the first full and only serial to take place completely within the United States. It would be 30 years until another US-set story was filmed as the 1996 TV movie, and the next regular episode to be set within the US wouldn't air until Dalek in 2005.


  • A Holiday For The Doctor (30/04/1966 17:50) - 6.5 million viewers
  • Don't Shoot The Pianist (07/05/1966 17:50) - 6.6 million viewers
  • Johnny Ringo (14/05/1966 17:55) - 6.2 million viewers
  • The O.K. Corral (21/05/1966 17:50) - 5.7 million viewers


  • The Gunfighters was the lowest-rated Doctor Who story ever. (There were a number of stories with lower ratings, including The Savages, The War Machines and The Smugglers.)
  • A similar rumor holds that The Gunfighters is consistently the lowest-ranked story among fans. (While it may have at one point held this dishonor, the last few polls conducted by Doctor Who Magazine place the story 20 points or more below the bottom)
  • Sheena Marshe, who played Kate Fisher, was director Rex Tucker's daughter. (She was unrelated to him; his daughter Jane Tucker, later to find fame as one third of the Rod, Jane and Freddy group of children's entertainers, did however appear as a walk-on in the story.)

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • Episodes one and two have the world's quietest gunshots, and in episode four's climactic gunfight Earp and Masterson apparently walk through a withering barrage of fire unscathed.(it helped that nobody was aiming at them).
  • The Clanton gang have amazing accents, Billy obviously having been to finishing school, and Johnny Ringo to the RSC.
  • Johnny Ringo, Kate and Steven arrive back in Tombstone before Doc Holliday and Dodo yet they departed first.
  • At the end of the first episode, the Doctor is seen outside the Saloon yet Kate gets there before the Doctor and she left the dentist after the Doctor.
  • Johnny Ringo did not take part in the gunfight, and was not killed at this time.
  • Pa Clanton died weeks before.
  • There is no Reuben Clanton or Warren Earp .
  • Ike Clanton survived.
  • Phineas Clanton did not take part .



DVD, Video and Other Releases

  • Video Release - Released as "Doctor Who: The Gunfighters"
UK Release: November 2002 / US Release: October 2003
PAL - BBC Video BBCV7277
NTSC - Warner Video
Released as part of The First Doctor Collection in the UK (BBCV 7268)
Released as part of The End of the Universe Collection in the US


Main article: The Gunfighters (novelisation)

Novelised as The Gunfighters in 1986 by Donald Cotton. Cotton's book contains many differences from the televised story, including a startling moment where the Doctor initially takes Doc Holliday's place in the gunfight, and actually triggers it by accidentially discharging his firearm and apparently killing two men.

See also

to be added

External Links

  • Official BBC Episode Guide for The Gunfighters
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide: Detailed Synopsis - The Gunfighters
  • A Brief History of Time (Travel) Guide to The Gunfighters
Season 3
Galaxy 4  • Mission to the Unknown  • The Myth Makers  • The Daleks' Master Plan  • The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve  • The Ark  • The Celestial Toymaker  • The Gunfighters  • The Savages  • The War Machines

This article uses material from the "The Gunfighters" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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