[[quoteright:350:[[ComicBook/XMen http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wagon.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Magneto takes this concept [[VisualPun a bit too literally]]...]]

All of the characters are on a ship that travels through space, a "space" ship, if you like. Exotic locations like AdventureTowns or the PlanetOfHats are just a "[[FasterThanLightTravel hyperjump]]" away.

The term comes verbatim from Gene Roddenberry's original pitch for ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' to Creator/{{NBC}} in the middle of the 1960s, and references the early Western show ''Series/WagonTrain'', which was [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin about a wagon train making its way west]]. The original is now less well known than the "...to the stars" phrase, making it an example of the WeirdAlEffect.

Note that these shows need not necessarily take place in outer space. ''Series/VoyageToTheBottomOfTheSea'', for example, was essentially a Wagon Train to the Stars show, underwater. (so, recycled in the ocean?)

The ship is often enough, as in ''Series/WagonTrain'', a [[SettlingTheFrontier colonization/settlement]] effort that [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption never quite gets to its destination]], at least until the finale. In this case, the ship is likely to be a [[GenerationShip massive, self-sustained, multigenerational community]] - essentially a mobile city in space, which allows making use of tropes typical to both TheQuest and TheSiege basic plots as the heroes both have a goal in mind and are concerned with protecting their way of life until it can be reached.

If the ship has no fixed destination (''Series/DoctorWho, Series/{{Firefly}}'') then this overlaps with WalkingTheEarth, sharing most of the same tropes. In either case, it may feature the BoldExplorer.

Compare SpaceWestern, SpaceOpera.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross'' (aka the first part of ''{{Anime/Robotech}}'') features this in a way when Macross City is rescued after a "[[OurWormholesAreDifferent space fold]]" accident and housed in the titular ship; two of the subsequent ''Anime/{{Macross}}'' TV shows, ''Anime/{{Macross 7}}'' and ''Anime/MacrossFrontier'', take place on actual, literal stellar wagon trains (complete with collapsible roofs) intended to colonize planets.
* ''Anime/SpaceBattleshipYamato'', especially the "Quest For Iscandar"
* ''SFSaiyukiStarzinger'' (dubbed as "Spaceketeers" in the US), a sci fi retelling of the classic Asian story ''Literature/JourneyToTheWest''(Saiyuki) does this as well (the dub however, changes the Saiyuki references to [[Literature/TheThreeMusketeers Three Musketeers]] references).
* ''Manga/GalaxyExpress999''. Bonus point for having the main characters travel in an [[CoolTrain ACTUAL space train]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/TheTransformersMoreThanMeetsTheEye:'' The Lost Light sets off on a grand adventure to find the mythical Knights of Cybertron, and get them to help rebuild Cybertron after the war. Only they keep getting distracted by things, like crashing after take-off, or horrific monsters rampaging about the ship, or war-scarred veterans rampaging about the ship, or the ship's "genius" accidentally freezing everyone in time, or unstoppable supersoldiers [[RuleOfThree rampaging about the ship]]. It doesn't help that most of the crew are a dysfunctional bunch of maniacs led by a irresponsible glory-hound, either.

* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'': The journey that Marco, Santorelli, Menderash, Jeanette, Tobias and Jake take aboard the ''Rachel'' to find the Blade ship was this, at least according to Marco. We never get the details of their adventures, though.
* ''Anime/NightOnTheGalacticRailroad''
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/TunnelInTheSky'' has interstellar colonization by means of quite literal wagon trains, using artificial gateways to get to their destination planets. They're not the focus of the book, but twice we see wagon trains preparing to embark.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'' has an evil version: the Yuuzhan Vong. They're from another galaxy, and had to travel millions of light-years at slower than light speed. They came in a HUGE fleet.
** So huge, in fact, that the novels created a {{Retcon}} stating that the primary reason the Empire constructed the Death Star and its other superweapons was to use them against the Yuuzhan Vong. The fact that they could be used to enforce their rule through fear and to fight the Rebellion was merely a bonus.
* In Creator/MelanieRawn's unfinished ''Literature/TheExiles'' trilogy, colonists from Earth find a new home in another solar system. Rawn named their spaceship after the actual wagon one of her ancestors rode out West.
* Book one in the ''Star Trek: New Earth'' series is called "Wagon Train to the Stars". The book is nothing less than LITERALLY that. A group of civilian settlers embark on a nine month journey at warp two to the Occult system to colonize the planet Belle Terre as a new colony. At the last second, Starfleet decides to get involved, giving the settlers a four ship UFP escort led by (of course) the starship Enterprise under the command of the original space cowboy, Jim Kirk. In fact, the only way that the Council, and Spock (who was in command of the Enterprise as this takes place between TMP and TWOK) would even leave Federation space was if Kirk was in command of the Enterprise. The colonists are on Conestoga-class ships (partially designed by Scotty), most of which have Western-style names (i.e. the pathfinder ship is called the Rattlesnake, the hotel/casin vessel is Uncle Jake's Pocket), and when they fell under attack just after reaching the Occult system, they 'sphered the ships' with Kirk saying (and this is a DIRECT quote from the book)"It's an old defensive tactic. Circling the wagons, only in three dimensions instead of two."
* ''[[Literature/Aniara Aniara]]'': UnbuiltTrope. Martinsson's great epic predates even ''Wagon Train'' by at least a decade, and it has none of the hope and joy of later forays into the genre. ''Aniara'' is originally carrying colonists to Mars, but it is heavily implied that the Mars colonies are a "Hail Mary"-attempt to save anything of humanity from the polluted radioactive wasteland that is Earth. As the poem unfolds, ''Aniara'' receives a transmission indicating that Earth is gone. During ''Aniara'''s journey, she is forced off course and her engines damaged, ensuring that the ship is headed off into deep space with no hope of recovery, and that the only thing left for the colonists to do is to live out their days and then travel forever into the darkness.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' and spinoffs (except ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', which was set on a space station) is both the TropeMaker and the TropeCodifier. The trope is the phrase Gene Roddenberry used to pitch the show to network executives.
** It's also the name of a Star Trek book.
*** The book in question is LITERALLY that, details in the Lit section.
** For the record, ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'' was compared to another Western, ''Series/TheRifleman''.
* ''Series/DoctorWho''
* ''Series/RedDwarf''
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}''
* ''Series/BattlestarGalactica1978'' (and its 21st century ContinuityReboot of [[Series/BattlestarGalactica2003 the same name]]) took it further by having a small 'ragtag fleet' of ships under the ''Galactica'''s protection, forming a ''literal'' Wagon Train to the Stars (well, minus the wagons anyway. And they were trying to get to Earth, ''from'' the stars, [[ButIDigress but that's not important right now]]).
* ''Series/{{Andromeda}}''
* ''Series/{{Space 1999}}''
* ''Series/VoyageToTheBottomOfTheSea''
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}''/''Film/{{Serenity}}''
* ''Series/{{Crusade}}''
* The second season of ''Series/BuckRogersInTheTwentyFifthCentury''
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' has often been this, especially in its first seasons. Technically, it doesn't take place on a spaceship, but there's not much practical difference between a base that stays inside a mountain and has a gate to a new world each week, and a ship that actually travels to a new world each week.
** ''Series/StargateUniverse'', however, fits this perfectly.
* ''Series/PowerRangersLostGalaxy''. There is a colony ship which is traveling to another planet. Evil aliens keep attacking and damaging it, and some of the damage can't be repaired, so while they started off with 10 engines, by the end they have only one, then zero. But, they did eventually get to their destination, which was covinently the home planet of the alien team member none of them had any way of knowing it was beforehand.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VisualNovel/YamiToBoushiToHonNoTabibito'' is a literal Wagon Train Through The Books.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' makes this a prominent (and very convenient) aspect of gameplay.
* ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'' (though without the spaceship).
** ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2'' has a spaceship ("or should we say ''faceship''?!")
* While the Galaxy in ''Franchise/MassEffect'' has a very effective and fast hyperspace highway network and the player never quite goes out of their way to explore new frontiers, the ''[[CoolStarship Normandy]]'', her crew and the assorted adventures they have over the course of an overarching plot remain the heart and soul of the series' appeal.
** The Quarian race have been living the life of space nomads for the past 300 years. While most of the spacefaring species are organized in the [[TheFederation Citadel Council]], the quarians lost their homewold in a RobotWar and have been living on spaceships ever since. They travel the stars as scavengers who salvage wrecked ships, until one day they find a way to take back their ancestral home with the protagonist's help.
** ''VideoGame/MassEffectAndromeda'' is taking this approach. Launched between ''2'' and ''3'', four Ark ships and a central Nexus hub station take 6 centuries to reach the Andromeda Galaxy (which, basically, means that we aren't told what the canon ending of ''3'' is, since it's too far away in space and time to matter), so the main characters explore a whole new galaxy with new dangers and wonders.
* ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}'' has a whole wagon caravan to the stars. Namely the Kushan fleet which gets continually expanded through the game, as the player fights their way through the galaxy to reclaim Hiigara, the eponymous homeworld of their people. There is also the Mothership, serving as the base of operations, and the only vessel which must stay alive through the game.
** The semi-canonical sequel ''Homeworld: Cataclysm'' has this to a lesser extent. Fed up with being marginalized on Hiigara, Kiith Somtaaw petitions the dominant kiithid for access to the Mothership. In record time, they design and build two command ships and an explorer ship, and the entire kiith heads into space to live as nomadic [[AsteroidMining asteroid miners]] with the command ships (''Faal-Corum'' and ''Kuun-Lan'') serving as smaller versions of the Mothership. Unable to field large fleets of specialized ships, the Somtaaw are forced to improvise and borrow designs from elsewhere. For example, the primary fighter craft for the Somtaaw is the Acolyte heavy fighter, which can also launch missiles in addition to its mass drivers. The design is based on tech traded from the Bentusi (minus the weapon systems). Instead of having a separate corvette type, the Somtaaw have designed the Acolyte to be able to link with another Acolyte and become an Avenger ACV (Acolyte Composite Vehicle). With double the firepower (minus missiles), the Avenger also has an EMP emitter. It's this versatility that is instrumental in the Somtaaw becoming the only ones who can save the day against the game's BigBad.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SuperRobotMonkeyTeamHyperForceGo'', in later seasons.