Peaceful, primitive peoples get caught up in the struggle between superpowers, with Kirk unhappily trying to restore the balance of power disrupted by the Klingons.

Director:

Writers:

(created by), (teleplay by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Michael Witney ...
...
...
Ned Romero ...
...
...
...
Arthur Bernard ...
Apella
Janos Prohaska ...
The Mugato
Paul Baxley ...
Patrol Leader
Gary Pillar ...
Yutan
Edit

Storyline

Kirk returns to the planet where he spent time 13 years before. A friend from his previous visit is now leader of his people. While trying to uphold the Federation's prime directive, the Klingons are providing more advanced technology to their enemies. Written by laird-3

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 February 1968 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The planet they're on is named Neural in the script, but this name is never heard in the show itself. See more »

Goofs

The ape-like creature is referred to throughout as a "Mugato," but in the closing credits it's "The Gumato" (see trivia). See more »

Quotes

Nona: There's an old custom among my people: When a woman saves a man's life, he is grateful.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Futurama: The Tip of the Zoidberg (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
War isn't a Good Life, but it's Life (and a Mugato)
20 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is the serious attempt to present the impact and ramifications of interfering with the natural progression of a culture (the comedic take was "A Piece of the Action" a couple of episodes earlier). In this case, the culprits are (surprise!) Klingons: on a peaceful planet, the Klingons supply one side, Villagers, with flintlocks/rifles, while the Hill People, led by an old friend (Tyree) of Kirk's, continue to use bows & arrows. The balance of power has been upset, not to mention that Kirk's memories of a 'Garden of Eden' world have been corrupted. This is actually an interesting glimpse into Klingon strategy: they build up one side of a civilization as a puppet kingdom, to be a part of their growing empire. See also "Friday's Child" for the previous Klingon-Federation conflict over a planet. What this episode was soon known as by Trekkers is as the 'Vietnam' parable of the series.

This allusion to Vietnam doesn't stay subtle - Kirk even makes reference to the 20th century 'brush wars' on the Asian continent to spell things out to the audience. There's a sometimes preachy tone and flowery references to serpents (the rifles) which overlooks the awful true impact of war, that being widespread bloody death. McCoy addresses this as best he can, but Kirk merely waves away such dire consequences with a trite comment about what war is. Despite a rather simplistic 'kill or be killed' theme for such a politically charged episode, it does drive home the point well that once something like flintlocks are introduced into such a civilization, you can't just take them back. Pandora's Box, such as it is, has been opened and it's too late to close it. And there are no easy solutions. McCoy represents the liberal side here with his protests and he offers no other solution. Kirk is the conservative view - Klingons started this and it's out of his hands now. As such, they have one of their more intense arguments in this episode and neither wins.

Then we have the Mugato. It's a white apelike animal with a lizard-like spine and tail. The monster suit was probably effective in the sixties; now it looks like some goon escaped a Halloween parade to chase Shatner and Kelley around the wilderness (OK, it did scare me a bit when I was eight years old). Add to this the whole witch-woman routine by Tyree's wife and we're in unintentional amusement territory. However, quite intentionally, this episode also presents a 'B' storyline up on the Enterprise, where Spock is recovering from a gunshot wound. My favorite scene is Nurse Chapel slapping the bedridden Spock as Scotty runs in, quite alarmed. This all explains another facet of the Vulcan mystique and physiology. Rather inspired.


19 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Tell me which ones to watch! catmydogs
Explain the sexism shermandemetrius
Mirror Mirror shermandemetrius
Love Spectre of the Gun! michelleishappy
How fast is impulse power? catmydogs
Day of the Dove (goof)? McCartney42
Discuss A Private Little War (1968) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?