Recap / Doctor Who S3 E8 "The Gunfighters"
You can't walk into the middle of a Western town and say you've come from outer space! Good gracious me. You would be arrested on a vagrancy charge!
The Doctor

Now the Doctor has broken
A tooth on a sweet.
The TARDIS arrives in
An old Western street.
And the dentist that's nearest
Is Doc Holliday,
Who looks just like Theta Sigma
When he's seen the right way.

Holliday and the Clantons
Are at loggerheads.
The Clantons they try to
Make Steven Taylor dead.
And they think that the Doctor
Is Holliday, too.
Meanwhile Johnny Ringo shows up
At the Last Chance Saloon.

Clantons shoot Wyatt's brother
It's Personal now.
A showdown ensues at
The OK Corral.
And the Clantons and Ringo
Are deaders quite soon.
Doctor, Steven, and Dodo
Leave the Last Chance Saloon.

'Tis the last story with
Episode titles, see?
Like "The Romans", "The Myth Makers",
'Tis a humor piece.
And that Who ain't our timeline
This story it proves.
In our world things went quite diff'rent
Near the Last Chance Saloon.


  • Adaptation Expansion: Donald Cotton's novelization has Doc Holliday relating the story's narrative from his deathbed!
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Kate has a thing for outlaws.
  • All-Knowing Singing Narrator
  • Artistic License Biology: The giant tooth 'sign' at Doc Holliday's dental salon doesn't bode well for his professional know-how: it's got four roots, and the most any normal human tooth can have is three.
  • Artistic License History: The events in the story bear only a vague resemblance to actual history. Even the participants in the famous gunfight were largely different in real life.
  • Ballad of X: The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon.
  • Blasting It out of Their Hands: Doc Holliday does this to Seth Harper.
  • Cowboy Episode
  • Dead Serious: Ringo killing Charlie. Also an Establishing Character Moment.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The idea of good, honest law men is deconstructed through Wyatt, his brother and his friend Doc. Wyatt will do knowingly illegal things like keeping in jail an innocent man to both protect him while lying to him and using him to save his friend; his brother is probably a deputy because of family relations, because he seems to have no experience; Doc is a bit of a hustler, and a spineless one who would frame someone of being him; on the other hand, they're all good guys and not just designated, as Wyatt will protect the spirit of the law and his town's citizens, his brother is brave, and Doc has some morals and is a good gunslinger.
  • Deconstruction: On the other hand, while the outlaws seem to be fun guys, they're both dangerous in groups and cowardly in small numbers. (And those are the Clantons). The idealist outlaw type is completely deconstructed by Johnny Ringo (though reconstructed by Doc), who has no honor, as a gunfighter or as a human being. Ringo is the only one who isn't shown to have any redeeming qualities.
  • Depraved Dentist: Doc Holiday. The Doctor of all people doesn't seem to see it.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Everybody keeps trying to give the Doctor guns, which he really doesn't want.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Clantons are appalled by the Doctor suggesting he'd gun down unarmed men, and later by Ringo that he'd shoot people in the back.
  • Genre Deconstruction: The whole Western genre is deconstructed and reconstructed, gone as far as to lampshade it at the end by mentioning Dodo's love and knowledge of western tropes.
  • Greek Chorus: The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon.
  • Gun Twirling: The Doctor does this. Steven attempts to copy him and drops the gun.
  • He Knows Too Much: Now it's curtains for Charlie...
  • Historical-Domain Character: Every one of them. But after this, no further real people would appear on screen in Doctor Who until George Stephenson in "The Mark of the Rani".
  • I'm Mr. Future Pop Culture Reference: The Doctor introduces himself and his companions as touring actors. He calls himself Dr. Caligari.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    Doctor: (sees the bottle Holliday's holding) I never touch alcohol.
    Doc Holliday: (takes a swig) Well, I do.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Steven and Dodo get "western" outfits from the TARDIS wardrobe that are wildly over-elaborate and stagey, lampshaded by all the genuinely western characters.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Again, Doc Holliday. He has qualms with letting the Doctor die, and helps Dodo.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Ringo is much more threatening than the characters introduced in the first two episodes.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The ballad is used as a narrative device which the characters don't hear for the most part, but the part one cliffhanger has Steven and Dodo performing it.
    • Also:
      Masterson: Doctor who?
      Doctor: (not really listening) Yes, quite right.
    • Dodo and Steven mime piano playing, but Steven's line "Let's hope the piano knows it!" hints that it's a player piano.
  • Musical Exposition: "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon" comments on the action throughout.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Oh so much from the Doctor, Steven and Dodo. Special points for the moment when Doc gives the Doctor a pistol and he repeatedly points it at Doc and Kate, as each in turn pushes his hand away from them and towards the other one.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: Steven tries some gunslinging at the start of the serial, only for it to go off when it flies out of his hand.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: When Charley gets shot, the tone is obviously going to move from comedic to dramatic, as the final gunfight is fastly approaching anyway and it just needs a catalysis. This is actually introduced with the appearance of Johnny Ringo Shooting The Dog, but it fits/makes the context.
  • Stop Helping Me! (In-Universe): Doc Holliday eventually says this to Dodo.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Doctor takes the Idiot Ball and holds on to it hard in the serial. It starts when he decides that the Old West is the best place to find a dentist for his toothache, not realising that pain killers hadn't been invented yet. After being set up to be (at least) confused with Doc Holliday by Doc himself and almost being killed and lynched because of this, when questioned by the barkeeper about his relation with Doc, the Doctor says "He's my friend, he gave me a gun, he pulled out my tooth...". The barkeep correctly comments that at this rate, they'll be pulling bullets out of him.
  • The Western: A surprisingly rare genre in Doctor Who. The next one wouldn't be until the Eleventh Doctor visited "A Town Called Mercy" in 2012.
  • You Sound Familiar: David Graham (Charley the Bartender) was one of the two main voice actors for the Daleks throughout The '60s.