Doctor Who: The Gunfighters
Written by Donald Cotton
Directed by Rex Cotton
Broadcast 30th April – 21st May 1966
Reviewed by Jeffrey Zyra
“So fill up your glasses and join in the song. The law’s right behind you and it won’t take long. So come, you coyotes and howl at the moon, Till there’s blood upon the sawdust, In The Last Chance Saloon.”
Following the events of The Celestial Toymaker The Doctor apparently has a toothache. So he sets off to find a dentist. Well he lands at the western town of Tombstone home of the OK Corral. Roaming around the town are the likes of The Clantons, Wyatt Earp, Johnny Ringo and Doc Holliday. The Doctor proceeds to find Doc Holiday and to get his tooth fixed while Steven and Dodo try to blend in. What happens next is quite comical as the three travelers get caught up in the shootout at the OK Corral.
Ok. Well this one is a winner. The Gunfighters is one of the worst Doctor Who stories ever. EVER! It is dull and boring and it has one of the worst songs ever and it keeps being played over and over again throughout all four episodes. God that song is so awful and it would have been better if they played it only once at the beginning of the story. What is worse Steven and Dodo start singing it also. The story is pretty inaccurate also. I mean the events of the Gunfighters are very loosely based on the events that took place at Tombstone. But I guess if you are working on a BBC budget and it is a studio based story then you are limited.
What I do not understand is why The Doctor would go to Tombstone to have his tooth fixed. Didn’t the TARDIS have some sort of medicine for that or some future Timelord tooth fixer? Plus he goes to see Doc Holliday who at the time of the OK Corral gave up being a dentist and was a renowned gambler and gunfighter. He would not have been my first choice to get my tooth fixed especially if I had a time machine at my disposal.
The Gunfighters is just plain hard to watch. The story goes in all directions and tries to be funny. At least I hope that was their intent. Plus it is very dull and lacks much of action until the end when you get to the shootout. Which I have to say is pretty lame in itself. It just wasn’t a well written story. The scenarios were just awful with The Doctor being mistaken for Doc Holliday was just lame. You would expect Wyatt Earp to know what one of his best friends would look like. Well if you want to see what a Doctor Who story should not be and want to watch in utter horror then The Gunfighters is for you. If you want to keep your sanity then just skip over this one and watch The War Machines which would make your brain happy.