Responding to a distress signal, Kirk finds Captain Tracey of the U.S.S. Exeter violating the prime directive and interfering with a war between the Yangs and the Kohms to find the secret of their longevity.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Irene Kelly ...
Morgan Farley ...
Yang Scholar
David L. Ross ...
Lloyd Kino ...
Ed McCready ...
Frank Atienza ...
Kohm Villager


As the Enterprise approaches planet Omega IV, they find another starship, the U.S.S. Exeter, in orbit. Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam aboard to find the ship abandoned but strewn with uniforms and crystals. The last log entry from the ship's surgeon tells them they have been infected with a deadly virus brought aboard from a returning landing party. Kirk's party beams down to the planet's surface and finds there is one Exeter survivor: Captain Ron Tracey. He has apparently ignored the Prime Directive and has taken sides in a local dispute supporting the Kohms against their arch-rivals, the Yangs. As McCoy tries to find a cure for the virus, Spock and Kirk try to make sense of the situation. They eventually realize there is an odd parallel with Earth's own history. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

1 March 1968 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the adaptation of this episode done for the ViewMaster (3-D) slides, the Yangs were renamed the Meraks. See more »


During the final scene on the planet, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are standing together before they leave. During a pause in one of Shatner's lines, Nimoy starts saying something on top of Shatner, then abruptly stops. The camera keeps rolling and you can see Nimoy's eyes roll over as he realizes his mistake. See more »


Captain James T. Kirk: In my land we have a tribe like you.
Cloud William: Where is your tribe?
Captain James T. Kirk: Up there. One of those points of light that you see at night.
Yang Scholar: Why are you here? Were you cast out?
Captain James T. Kirk: You're confusing the stars with heaven.
Captain Tracey: He was cast out! Don't you recognize the Evil One? Who else would trick you with your own sacred words? Let your God strike me dead if I lie. But he won't, because I speak for him.
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Featured in William Shatner's Star Trek Memories (1995) See more »

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When Starship Captains ignore the Prime Directive
21 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The #1 oath for a captain is to give their lives before directly interfering with the development of a civilization. Kirk and a landing party board an empty starship and find the whole crew contracted a deadly disease that wiped them all out. Now that they too contracted the sickness, they dare not return to the Enterprise, but to the planet below to find a cure. On reaching the planet, they find Capt. Tracey alive and well. They will later find out Tracey has been using his weapons to influence power in the primitive culture which is forbidden by StarFleet regulations. Some great fight sequences with Kirk, including a great one-on-one showdown with Tracey at the end.

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