Star Trek (1966–1969)
30 user 5 critic

Spectre of the Gun 

As punishment for ignoring their warning and trespassing on their planet, the Melkot condemn Capt. Kirk and his landing party to the losing side of a surreal recreation of the 1881 historic gunfight at the OK Corral.


Vincent McEveety


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Gene L. Coon (as Lee Cronin) | 1 more credit »

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Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy
Ron Soble ... Wyatt Earp
Bonnie Beecher ... Sylvia
James Doohan ... Scott
Walter Koenig ... Chekov
Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura
Charles Maxwell Charles Maxwell ... Virgil Earp
Rex Holman ... Morgan Earp
Sam Gilman ... Doc Holliday
Charles Seel Charles Seel ... Ed
Bill Zuckert ... Johnny Behan
Ed McCready Ed McCready ... Barber
Abraham Sofaer ... Melkotian (voice)


When the Enterprise trespasses into uncharted territory, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott and Chekov are transported to a location that has all the trappings of the American Old West. It's October 26, 1881, and Kirk soon realizes they are in Tombstone, Arizona, on the day of the famed gunfight at the OK Corral between the Clanton gang and the Earps - with Kirk and company representing the ill-fated Clantons. If history is to be repeated, they will fairly all be killed so must use whatever resources availed to them to defeat the threat and survive. The solution, however - and the only way of escape - lies within them. Written by garykmcd

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TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 October 1968 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


According to James Doohan, NBC executives told him to comb his hair back for the third season. Doohan hated wearing his hair this way and stopped doing so during Star Trek: The Tholian Web (1968). See more »


Towards the end of the episode, when the Melkotian contacts the Enterprise, there is a wide shot of the bridge with Uhura's left hand reaching for the transceiver in her ear. When Kirk gets out of his command chair to respond, her hand is holding the transceiver. However, in between those two shots is a close-up reaction shot, and both of her hands are on her console. See more »


Spock: [mind-melding with McCoy] The bullets are unreal. Without body. They are illusions only. Shadows without substance. They will not pass through your body, for they do not exist.
McCoy: [in a trance] They do not exist.
Spock: [mind-melding with Kirk] Unreal. Appearances only. They are shadows. Illusions. Nothing but ghosts of reality. They are lies. Falsehoods. Specters without body. They are to be ignored.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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


Featured in Cinematic Excrement: Spock's Brain (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

It's got some redeeming qualities.
12 June 2009 | by BlueghostSee all my reviews

It seems like a lot of people pan this episode for its bare bones approach in terms of production values. To me that's part of its charm. It's looks like an offbeat play that's character focused, with the threads of a story to tie it together.

There's an existential quality to this episode that, for me at least, brings out an ethereal plane for Kirk and crew. It's surreal. It's a puzzle within an enigma that pits the mettle of the bridge crew against an alien race that is trying to evaluate Star Fleet's finest.

I have to admit, the whole Western thing seems pretty cliché, particularly for the time when this show was being made. Westerns were all the rage in the 50s and 60s, and I suppose Star Trek had to pay homage to the genre in some form or fashion. "Spectre of the Gun" offers that, just as other episodes touched on medical and courtroom drama formulas.

Another positive about this episode is that the creative team really had to be inventive to make this Alien Western feel both Alien and Western. The cinematography is yet again a little more daring and inventive than in the previous two seasons. Shatner is challenged to carry this episode with his thesping, as he was called upon quite a few times for the third season.

In my personal opinion this episode might have really shined had the whole Western thing been dropped, and replaced with some strange alien culture. But, as others have mentioned, the Western theme was brought in to save dollars.

In spite of the low budget feel of this episode, I still find it intriguing in much the same lines as "The Empath", which as I pointed out was more of a theatre exercise where the camera was more focused on the actors than the actual story.

Take it for what it's worth. It's a little more dramatically inventive if somewhat on the cheap side. Give it a shot.

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