Star Trek (1966–1969)
20 user 6 critic

A Private Little War 

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.


Marc Daniels


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Gene Roddenberry (teleplay by) | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

With Prime Video





Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy
Nancy Kovack ... Nona
Michael Witney Michael Witney ... Tyree
James Doohan ... Scott
Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura
Ned Romero ... Krell
Majel Barrett ... Nurse Chapel
Walter Koenig ... Chekov
Booker Bradshaw ... Dr. M'Benga
Arthur Bernard Arthur Bernard ... Apella
Janos Prohaska ... The Gumato
Paul Baxley Paul Baxley ... Patrol Leader
Gary Pillar Gary Pillar ... Yutan


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


TV-PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

2 February 1968 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Ned Romero (Krell) also appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Journey's End (1994) as Anthwara, and Star Trek: Voyager: The Fight (1999) as Chakotay's great-grandfather. See more »


After Spock is shot and they rendezvous with McCoy and beam out, there is an error in the 'optical.' Not all of the equipment 'sparkles' with the beam out - one piece just dissolves, clearly missed by the technicians in post-production. See more »


Dr. M'Benga: Don't let these low panel readings bother you. I've seen this before in Vulcans. It's their way of concentrating all their strength, blood and antibodies onto the injured organs - a form of self-induced hypnosis.
Nurse Chapel: You mean he's conscious?
Dr. M'Benga: Well, in a sense. He knows we're here and what we're saying, but he can't afford to take his mind from the tissue he's fighting to heal. I suppose he even knows you were holding his hand.
Nurse Chapel: [embarrassed] A good nurse always treats her patients that way. It proves ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

Special Enhanced version Digitally Remastered with new exterior shots and remade opening theme song See more »


Spoofs Star Trek: The Apple (1967) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

More Than A Vietnam Allegory -- Coming of Age in a Fallen World
26 June 2019 | by Dan1863SicklesSee all my reviews

Fifty years ago this was one of my top ten episodes of Star Trek. As a six year old kid I wanted action, fist fights, gunfire, and adventure. I wanted Kirk in action with his fists, fighting the bad guys. I also loved the low-tech feel of the muskets and the powder horns. This episode to me has the perfect balance of action, adventure, romance, and heartbreak.

Now a lot of reviewers judge this episode solely on what it says (or fails to say) about the war in Vietnam. Certainly you can fault Gene Roddenberry for failing to take on the human cost of war -- this isn't Born On The Fourth of July. (Imagine a sequel where the Federation signs a peace treaty with the Klingons, and Kirk finds a wheelchair-bound Tyree in a bar, cursing Kirk for persuading him to enlist!)

But the thing is, this episode may not have the "answer" to what went wrong in Vietnam. But it raises a lot of timeless questions about loss of innocence, the end of childhood, and the price of change. Many, many Star Trek episodes show Kirk running across someone he liked or admired before his five-year mission with the Enterprise. Usually the other person fails Kirk in some way -- they've become corrupt, or crooked, or simply gone insane.

This time around, though, Kirk's friend Tyree is just as pure and just as innocent as Kirk remembered. The two of them were boys, once, hunting and fishing in the wilderness just like Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. But now Tyree is a man, and a leader -- like Kirk. And that means he has to change in ways that are genuinely tragic. The arc of Tyree, from helpless and innocent to hardened and ruthless, really mirrors the price Kirk has paid to become a legendary star ship captain. And Kirk's sadness only makes the tragic journey more profound and meaningful.

Tyree is the most likable and sympathetic companion of Kirk's "younger days" that we ever meet in the original series. I would also argue that of all the deadly, seductive women Kirk ever encountered, Nona is the most alluring and the most memorable. She's initially presented as being much more strong-willed and street-smart than her husband, and it's hard not to admire her genuine outrage at the way Kirk puts the Prime Directive above her husband' s survival. ("Then he has the wrong friends -- and I have the wrong husband!") But the way she over-estimates her own charms and fatally under-estimates the brutal cruelty of the villagers makes for some of the most graphic and disturbing violence in the series. And watching Tyree deal with what follows is genuine drama.

Everything is great about this episode -- even the big and furry Mugatu adds just right unintentional comic relief, a touch of campy silliness to offset the genuine sadness and the explosive drama!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 20 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed