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  • With all the talk about Doc wanting to destroy the DeLorean as soon as they got back, why was he so eager to then build a friggen time train?! What about all the talk about not wanting to mess with the timelines anymore?
    • He figured.. what the hell!
    • I always assumed it was because he was missing his friends too much. Either that, or his new girlfriend really wanted to see the future...
    • He wants to destroy the DeLorean when he has to abandon the woman he's fallen in love with and is facing the very real possibility of either himself or his good friend getting shot within a couple of days. He's depressed and sour about time travel at that point. When he builds the time-train, he's married and has a family, presumably isn't facing the prospect of imminent death, and overall is in a much more optimistic frame of mind about time travel. Short version: he changes his mind when his mood's better, basically.
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    • It also helps that the main reason he wanted to destroy the DeLorean was that so many things had gone wrong he was starting to believe that time travel itself was a bad thing. Having a lasting and happy marriage as a result of time travel shows him that good can come from it too so it's okay to try again.
    • This is addressed in the comic, which attributes this directly to Clara's love of science and inquisitive nature. Emmett is perfectly happy with staying in the late 19th Century, but Clara doesn't like that she missed out on all the time travel adventures, and yearns to visit the world Emmett came from. Her dreams of seeing the future inspire Emmett, who was a bit cynical thanks to 1985-A, to rediscover his sense of wonder about time travel and build the time train.
    • I will add this. A highly advanced, for the 19th century, car would completely knock scientific research out of balance if left lying around. The train uses steampunk technology, which he could use in relatively free view of the citizens of Hill Valley.
  • Nobody in the McFly seems to be bothered by how strange Marty was acting on the day he returned. Think about it from the McFly's family perspective. He comes back home shocked too see his family almost like something major changed for him, (they don't know about their old selves remember) asking questions with answers he should clearly know about and falling over in shock when he sees his parents walk in the door. Maybe they could write it off as a vivid dream he has and that he was okay, but at the end of BTTF Part III not an hour later in their time he randomly shows up wearing a cowboy costume and loudly relieved that they were "Back to Normal". Even if they thought he was just really out of it from not sleeping too much wouldn't the new assertive George tell him to go to bed for another hour before driving or ask him why he is acting that way. True everybody has off days but Marty seems like he would be insanely out of it and might need to be cared for not knowing what we know. Why don't they seem concerned at all?
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    • The McFly and Baines clans have a lot of nuts in their family trees ("Jailbird Joey"). Marty is somewhat normal by comparison.
    • Plus the way his family reacts to him acting like this suggests it's nothing new and chalk it up to "Marty's being weird. again."
    • Marty rolls with Doc Brown. You think this is the first time he's come home disoriented and freaked out?
    • It's actually much more than an hour later. Marty left 1985 to go to 2015 on October 26. He came back on October 27, a whole day after his family had last seen him, as evidenced by the fact that they and Biff are wearing different clothes.
    • The most likely, plausible explanation for all of the above is that George figured out a LONG time ago that his son Marty and the Marty from 1955 were the same Marty, that somehow, at some point in time, Marty gained access to time travel and went back to 1955 where he helped them get together, he told Lorraine, it made sense to her after some convincing, and they were watching for any weird behavior on Marty's part to figure out exactly when his little time travel adventure happened. (All of the above is plausible because George is a science fiction enthusiast—Marty certainly left enough clues that George would have caught over the course of the next thirty years and put together the whole picture.)
      • There is nothing in the film that suggests that George and Lorraine know anything about time travel.
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    • What clues? What does Marty say or do that has to point to time travel?
      • Well, the whole "if one of your kids sets fire to the living room rug" bit might cause them both a bit of consternation if it actually comes to pass. Plus, there's all the combined headscratchers about "how did George and Lorraine never question that "Calvin Klein" looks exactly like their teenage son 30 years later?"
      • Granted this is never mentioned anywhere in the franchise, but I've always suspected Marty didn't set fire to the couch in 1976-A (or whatever it would be). It stands to reason that George and Lorraine were much better parents the second time around, and in particular Lorraine was a lot less likely to be drunk, meaning 8-year-old Marty would be a lot less likely to be able to play with matches without being noticed.
    • If they even remember the first comment, that's not enough to go on — it could easily be chalked up to an odd coincidence and, as you pointed out, it may not even have happened in the new timeline. For the other, some people just look alike and after 30 years, and without a photograph, do you really think they'd accurately remember the face of a kid they knew for less than a week? There was a planned scene for the second movie where Lorraine is describing "Calvin" and she describes him as, among other things, much taller than Marty is. Memories are not immutable; they are, in fact, extremely faulty, especially as time passes from the initial event. Plus, there's Seamus and William McFly — proof that Marty's features were in the family gene pool way before "Calvin Klein" could have existed.
      • Although I do see certain merit on the hypothesis that Marty's parents figure out the time travel part or at least suspect, I think is more likely that George, who as far as we know still believes he was contacted by Darth Vader from Planet Vulcan, at some point thought that the alien entity that contact him was indeed "Calvin Klein" who also took the the look of his future son and that some how knew future events (like the use of the name "Calvin Klein" which he has to know by that point it will be a famous brand and the rug incident), after all if aliens can do interstellar travel they probably can also do time travel or both are related as the relativity theory implies.
    • If we look at what happens in the morning, Lorraine herself just passes it off as Marty having overslept and taking a bit of time to fully wake up ("Morning, sleepyhead!"). His confusion about everything and what happened with the car is likely just passed off as him having an unexpectedly vivid dream that he's adjusting from.
      • Plus it isn't exactly unusual for a teen boy to suddenly drop in the middle of the house, particularly after a growth spurt. Orthostatic hypotension.
  • Was there some kind of extreme climate shift around Hill Valley between 1885 and 1955? The Hill Valley of 1885 is a dusty little town with little vegetation, in the middle of hardpan desert that looks like it hardly ever sees precipitation. Yet in all time periods besides 1885, Hill Valley is often damp, with lush vegetation and prone to strong, drenching rainstorms. In 2015, there appear to be two strong rainstorms during Marty's visit, which was only a few hours long, which indicates more extreme climate change in a relatively short period of time. Yet, the most extreme change seems to take place early in the fossil fuel age, rather than later. What gives?
    • Evidently there was some very aggressive landscaping done in the intervening decades.
    • The suburb where Marty lives was also pretty clearly desert, or at least scrub bush land, in 1955 as well. Remember also that the first two movies are set largely in November (i.e. autumn, almost winter), a time of year which is likely to see a lot more rain even in the California desert, whereas the third movie is set in September (i.e. towards the end of summer), where there's likely to have been less rain overall.
    • Remember also that as the city expands and merges with the increasing urbanization of Southern California, more irrigation is going to reach areas that, in 1885, will be pretty dry and barren.
  • So the DeLorean uses an internal combustion engine that Mr. Fusion doesn't work on. Why doesn't Doc just build an electric motor?
    • 1885 lacks the machinery and parts for him to do it in under a week. He says it'd take a month just to repair one broken part on the car when it blows out, remember.
      • Yet 1885 has all the machinery and parts to build a complete and functional time train apparently. Yes, trains existed back then, cars didn't, but building something (or modifying a normal train) to travel through time seems like it'd be a lot harder than repairing a regular engine, regardless of technological level.
      • 1885 actually doesn't have the machinery and parts to build a time train! The comics explain that in order to build the time train, he had to build a little time go-kart to go forward into the future and get the materials, and it was a big pain in the ass! Building an electric motor for the DeLorean out of 1885-available parts would have taken too long, but even if he'd managed it, look how huge his refrigerator is, and all it does is make dinky little ice cubes. An electric motor that could get the DeLorean up to 88 MPH would be so big that you'd have to tow the engine behind the car on a trailer.
      • Well, yes. That's specifically because he's building it out of materials that are available to him in the late nineteenth century. It probably took him quite a while (there's probably a reason that when we see him next, he's married and has two fairly grown children), but it's never said anywhere that the time circuitry can only be built out of late twentieth century technology.
      • The train has one big advantage over a car when it comes to building advanced stuff — it's huge. A lot of things in a car are miniaturized, and miniaturization is really what makes modern conveniences possible — consider Doc's refrigerator in 1885. It's a huge, clunky, loud thing that fills half a room to make a pair of ice cubes, compared to the mini fridge in an office that does the same thing and is about the shape of a garbage can. Sure, Doc could build a motor — but with what's available to him, he can't build one that's going to fit in the DeLorean and have enough juice to get to 88 MPH.
      • I will toss out that, partially, the hover capabilities were basically him spending time dismantling the hover-board, and the rest was purely him doing some steampunk science. The notable thing is that the thrusters for when it's flying are F-ing HUGE, and I doubt that it always travels on track.
      • The challenge wasn't building a new time machine from scratch, it was doing it under a week before Tannen killed Doc.
  • Why was Doc just fine with being left in the 1880s, when he's usually so anal about altering the past? Also, why did he not want to bring Clara along with him into the future/present? She was initially supposed to die, so taking her along wouldn't have messed with anything, in fact it would've actually set things right by taking her out of a timeline where she shouldn't even be alive.
    • He is savvy to know that Marty ALWAYS mess up the timeline. Although he makes friends, none of them seems to be very close. About the Clara part, he met and fell in love with her for a span of four or five days, before Tannen killed him.
    • Well, we know he liked The Wild West anyway, so maybe he just figured that he could live out a quiet life in that era without disturbing anything. (Although he doesn't seem that keen to not disturb anything, befriending all the locals, becoming a major figure in town and all while using his real name.) As for Clara, I agree that that would be the most logical option. I can only assume the Doc's concern was that the culture shock would be too much for her.
    • If you remember, Doc told Clara the whole story and she didn't believe a word of it until she came across the model of the time machine in the stable. He couldn't take her back to the future because she dumped him. Also, on the subject of Doc not wanting to alter the past, III makes it clear that he's had enough of time traveling for personal gain, and has chosen to bury the DeLorean as a selfless act just so Marty can get from 1955 to 1985. When he wrote the letter he was happy living out his retirement in 1885, it wasn't until Marty found out that he got shot days after having written the letter that Marty went back in time and started changing things in a major way.
      • Presumably, Doc was too confused by his conflicted emotions to think straight. If he thought things out more clearly, bringing Clara back with him was the most logical choice (since she wasn't supposed to live in the past anyway). And convincing Clara would've been trivially easy if he had brought Marty and a few future artifacts to her house...
      • He wouldn't even need to bring any future artifacts to show her. Clara was perfectly willing to go with him until he mentioned that he was from the future. All he would have had to do was agree to take her with him without telling her where they're going and then lead her to the DeLorean. It would be pretty hard to refute the advanced technology that's beyond anything in 1885. Once she sees that, she'd believe anything he tells her.
      • The problem is that he has already ruled out taking Clara with him, and has told her this before telling her that he is from the future. The reason for this is that, even though it would seem logical to bring her to 1985, he has convinced himself that, because it is what he wants to do, it is also selfish, much like the sports almanac in the previous movie that caused all the trouble to begin with; therefore, he must not do it.
    • With Doc in 1885 you have only one person temporally out of place. With Marty there you have two. Which alters the past more? Which creates more danger of paradoxes?
    • And remember that Doc becomes a little less concerned about the Alteration of History by the end of Part I. That's why he decides to read the note and wear the bulletproof vest.
  • What the hell kind of Westerns did young Brown watch? That was the fruitiest cowboy costume I've ever seen.
    • Given his age, I'd guess black-and-white. The outfit wouldn't have been that bad in B&W (it was the colors that really got to me).
    • He was watching westerns that were made in the 30s, 40s, and early 50s. Check some out some time, and you'll find it easy to see why he thought that outfit would look right.
    • The novelization specifically mentions that his main source for ideas about the old west was Roy Rogers, who was a big T.V. star cowboy in 1955. Take a look at the getup he's wearing in his Wikipedia entry photo for an idea of what Doc had to imagine cowboys wearing.
    • It seems odd that Doc, who loves the Old West so much and is so intelligent, believes that people actually dressed like that back then. Then again, he could have learned all about the Old West after 1955.
      • He is exceptionally intelligent, but that doesn't mean that he has a comprehensive education about everything. The Old West may have been his favorite period of time from the movies he saw and he just liked it for that without ever getting around to doing historical research on it, especially since he was more focused on developing science. He built a time machine but that doesn't mean he's a historian... after all, he sets December 25th in the year 0 as the birthdate of Christ, which if you've studied the history behind theology is probably not the actual date of Christ's birth.
      • I just assumed that, despite knowing they were wrong, those clothes were the best he could get from the theme park at such short notice and he thought they'd have to do.
      • What "short notice"? They had a time machine. They quite literally had all the time in the world to prepare Marty for his trip.
      • Remember that Marty isn't getting any younger, wants to get back to his life in 1985, wants to rescue Doc from 1885 as soon as possible, isn't the best third-dimensional thinker around, and last time he spent a prolonged amount of time in 1955 he almost destroyed his parents' marriage and erased his own existence. The "short notice" is that Marty just wants to get this done quick-sharpish and go home, and certainly doesn't want to dick around in 1955 for a prolonged period of time just so that Doc can put together a meticulous 1885 costume for him. So Doc gets something as quick as possible that's going to be at least in the general area for 1885.
      • We surmised that people were exceptionally well dressed back in the day due to photographic evidence. Another view is that photography was a huge deal and time consuming, so they dressed up special for the early long exposures. When instant photography was invented, they still viewed it as special because it was a novelty that allowed even the lower classes to get pictures taken. So, even though criminals were getting mug shots taken, they were still opting to wear their finest clothes.
  • So a bunch of angry Indians are galloping away. Suddenly in front of them two loud, bright blasts occur, no doubt displacing a ton of desert dust. From the cloud a shiny silver object emerges, hurtling toward them... and they aren't fazed at all. How does this make any sense? Surely they'd at least try to get out of the way real fast?
    • Well they were running away from a US Cavalry charge at the time. What bugs me about the scene is how the Indians seem about to overtake Marty a number of times before mysteriously jumping backwards so that they don't.
      • This can probably be explained by the fact that he's in a car that both has a brake and accelerator and which is being driven over terrain it wasn't designed for, which will likely slow it down somewhat.
  • In the third movie Marty and Doc are all in a hurry to get back to the future before Doc gets a bullet in his back, so they come up with the contrived and extremely risky plan of using the boosted locomotive. But when Buford is beaten they suddenly have all the time in the world. Why don't they go back to the drawing board and try to come up with some other way of getting the car to 88mph? Hell, Doc is a genius - given enough time he could probably hack up a steampunk manifold and refine existing gasoline, or some other suitable fluid or gas. But no, they proceed as planned, with all the problems that causes.
    • A mix of dramatic license and inherent inability to think things through properly, perhaps. The lack of a local gas station made easy access to gas (natural gas and oil DID exist) a problem but an inventor of a time machine and so on should have been able to jerry-rig some temporary replacement for the gas tank even given the time restraints. Restraints as much a result of the plot requirements as much as anything else anyways.
    • They tried to use whiskey as a fuel, but that made things worse. And had they had more time, they hypothesized pushing the car down a snowy mountain during the wintertime.
    • But after Doc was saved from the bullet, Marty got stuck facing off with Buford in a showdown, so then they had to leave before the showdown. Of course, considering Buford was sent to jail before they left, they could have pulled the plug on the whole thing at that point. Maybe since it was already the day at that point and they had everything lined up, they just thought "Ah... I guess we'll just go through with it".
    • Because Marty was probably getting a bit homesick by then. Time was still passing for him even if it wasn't from his family and girlfriend's perspective. He was also getting older, which would make it hard to go back after a long while without anyone being suspicious. There was also the chance that Marty or Doc would do something that would cause Back to the Future IV. They could easily die from something in the past. Buford could get out of jail seeking revenge. So basically, a lot of very good reasons.
    • At that point, Doc had resigned himself to leaving Clara behind in 1885, and didn't want to torture himself by staying near her any longer than necessary.
    • Compounding all the above points is one very important one that hasn't been mentioned. Up until just before this the Delorean and all evidence of time travel was safely locked up in Doc's barn where he could keep an eye on it. Because of all the preparation they've made for this exact plan a lot of evidence is now laying around in the open where they might not be able to get it back into hiding before someone sees it. Going through with the plan which takes them out into the middle of nowhere is the best possible option available from an evidence perspective.
    • They could have found some gasoline with some effort. While not commonly available at gas stations in 1885, gasoline would still have been relatively easy to come by, as it was collected and burnt as a nearly useless waste byproduct of petroleum processing to obtain lamp oil and kerosene, which were more valuable. Best guess as to why this option was never explored is that with the time restraint placed by Doc's impending death, it may have been impossible to travel to an oil processing plant and return in time, and Doc and Marty tried alternatives to gasoline which destroyed the engine.
  • If Clara Clayton was supposed to fall into the ravine and, thus, have it named after her, how could Doc be survived by his "beloved Clara" in his obituary, unless there's another Clara we don't know about...
    • In the original timeline in which Doc was killed, Doc went to pick up Clara at the train station, meeting and falling in love with her there. The mayor explicitly shows up and tells Doc that the teacher he agreed to pick up at the town meeting last week is arriving tomorrow. He hears the name Clara Clayton and realizes that she's the "beloved Clara" on the tombstone, he decides not to meet her to avoid any romantic interest. When Doc doesn't show up because of Marty, Clara rents the buckboard and almost falls into the ravine.
      • This would explain why it was named the Clayton Ravine in the first place, but it seems like once we get a timeline where Doc saves Clara from falling in, it must have some different name. It's not technically a continuity error since Marty knew about the ravine before all this time-traveling happened, but I'm pretty sure I put more thought into this than the writers did.
      • There are three variations here. In one, Clara falls in and they name the ravine after her. In the timeline where Doc dies, she didn't fall in, so maybe it stayed as Shonash Ravine. Alternately Clara may have thrown herself in in a bout of grief, so they rename it in her honor anyway. After the third movie it's thought that Marty fell in, so they name it "Eastwood Ravine" after his alias.
      • Yes. In the "original original" timeline where there is no Doc or Marty in 1885 at all, nobody volunteered to take Clara home, thus she had to rent that buckboard, just as she did in the timeline where Doc didn't go to get her because he was focused on getting himself and Marty back to the future, thus she died, thus Clayton Ravine. The confusion over Clayton Ravine seems to be that people were under the mistaken assumption that Clara came to Hill Valley from wherever she was before in the buckboard, when in actuality she arrived in Hill Valley by train, and was either picked up or rented the buckboard to get from the train station to her house. You can even see Clara in the background at the train station when Marty and Doc are looking at the map of the ravine.
      • Word of God is that prior to Marty traveling back and saving Doc, Clara threw herself into the ravine in grief. That's why it remains Clayton Ravine up until the point he travels back in time to save Doc. So it goes like this: No Doc in the past, no Marty in the past, equals buckboard rental and Clayton Ravine. Doc in the past, no Marty in the past, star-crossed lover grief and Clayton Ravine. Doc in the past, Marty in the past, happy and saved Clara, Eastwood Ravine.
      • Except that what Word of God said in the official Gale/Zemeckis FAQ was that Clara might have thrown herself into the ravine, and thus the ravine might be called Clayton in that version of events or it might remain Shonash. They deliberately refrained from showing the name in those parts of the films because they wanted it to be open to interpretation based on people's own theories about time travel.
      • And keep in mind: in the timeline where Doc picks up Clara, there's no evidence of what happens to the name of the ravine because Marty and Doc don't see it in 1955 along with the tombstone. You can assume it was still named Clayton, but Marty's knowledge of the name was based on his prior knowledge before all the time travel business. It could've remained Shonash or it could've been named something else in the interim. We only know it changes when Marty returns to his proper time.
  • In the third movie, when the DeLorean is out of gas in 1885, why don't they take some gas from the earlier time loop version of the car that's still in the mine? (To avoid changing history, they could get some more gas from the future to replace it. Or just take an amount small enough not to be noticed; they only need enough for one trip.)
    • In the novelization Marty EXPLICITLY thinks about that plan, but Doc said that he had drained the DeLorean to avoid corrosion of the gas tank before storing into the mine. A pity.
      • Besides gasoline does not last that long, it spoils after around 2-3 years and is useless for car engines, thus Doc probably knowing that thought that having a tank full of gasoline for 80 years won't do anything other than risk the car's tank.
      • Word of God confirms that in the DVD commentary.
      • That's fine as far as it goes, but what did Doc do with the gasoline he drained? Don't tell me he just threw it away, or dumped it in the dirt. He's a scientist; surely he would have kept it around for his own experiments.
      • Presumably he used it up in his own experiments.
    • Also, in the film, before sending Marty back to 1885 Doc specifically says "I put gas in the tank," which implies that it was empty when they unearthed the car.
      • The whole reason why he wasn't able to get out of 1885 to begin with was an arrow ripped the fuel line and caused what was there (suppose it was a full tank) to leak.
    • Gas deteriorates. And it's dangerous.
      • When laying up a car for an extended period, it's standard procedure to drain the gasoline. As has been said, gasoline deteriorates; it would have broken down to the point of uselessness long before 70 years were up. An issue they don't touch on in the deterioration of the other components. After such a long time laid up, the DeLorean should really have needed a complete teardown and replacement of all the seals and other rubber components.
      • It did. Remember that Doc's letter includes instructions on how to refurbish the car with 1955 parts.
      • I didn't think it was an arrow, I thought the fuel tank was punctured on some rocks while he backed up to escape the Indians. In which case, did they replace the fuel tank or were they able to fix a hole like that?
      • Marty says that he ripped the fuel line, which implies a gash, plus he didn't see the gas leak until shortly after he pulled out the arrow and it's in a lower place than where the arrow was, so a rock seems more likely. Doc probably patched up the hole when working on how to get back.

  • Doc's chemical bundles cause the locomotive's boiler to explode, yet despite the engine not being under pressure it's still accelerating?
    • Go back and rewatch. What does Doc say about his 'bundles' and the effects they will have on the train?
      • "Make the fire burn hotter, kick up the boiler pressure and make the train go faster" or "Each detonation will be accompanied by a sudden burst of acceleration"? The boiler had just exploded, the steam had escaped, there was no pressure to power the engine. No power, no acceleration.
    • The boiler hadn't yet exploded. It was venting steam like crazy, but you can still have pressure in a leaky container if it builds fast enough.
    • That wasn't the boiler that burst apart, it was the smokebox. The vapors seen escaping are smoke from the burning coal and bundles, not steam, which is why Doc and Clara weren't parboiled on contact with them.
    • The boiler pops quite a few rivets, venting steam, in addition to losing the smokestack.

  • At the end of Part III we all see that not only is Doc living happily ever after with family, but he also created his very own Time Train. But in order to time travel, he needs a flux capacitor that requires 1.21 gigawatts of electricity. How was he able to create a flux capacitor with resources available only in 1885? He couldn't use the flux capacitor in the DeLorean he buried in the mine, or else there wouldn't be a DeLorean in 1955! For that matter, what kind of power source is capable of 1.21 gigawatts of electricity that could be built with resources in 1885?! Even if we assume he got all the futuristic stuff from 2015, he still needed to rig a train that was capable of time traveling in order to reach 2015 in the first place!
    • A. Doc built the Flux Capacitor in the first place. If anyone knows how to build another one, it's him. As for the initial 1.21 gigawatts? Well, Doc might not know exactly when and where lightning's going to strike again, but he's a Mad Scientist. He could rig up a lightning rod and figure out how to channel it into a train at the right time. Also, chill. You're close to going over your daily allotment of exclamation points.
      • We don't know exactly how complicated a device the flux capacitor is - or Mr. Fusion, for that matter. It's possible that Doc could have built one or both from late-1800s components, given enough time (and, based on the ages of his children, it probably took at least a decade). Even if he can't create a fusion reactor, I suppose he could electrically connect the train's wheels to the flux capacitor, and then use a lightning rod to channel electricity into the railroad track. This wouldn't require exact knowledge of when the lightning was going to hit, or exact positioning of the train, as long as the train was traveling along the track at 88 MPH when it did strike. It might take several tries to get it right, but he'd only need to get lucky once.
      • Did you guys already forget he also had the hover-board with him before Marty went back to 1985? You can never keep a good scientist down with resources like that mo'fo.
      • If it's true that the 88 mph speed is arbitrary, then Doc could have simply removed that, built the machine, attached a lightning rod on top, and waited inside during a thunderstorm. If he set his machine to go to 2015, he could then completely hover-covert it, install Mr. Fusion, etc.
    • It's time travel. He could cannibalize the flux capacitor in the DeLorean for his locomotive time machine...as long as he made sure to put it back (or replace it) before Marty retrieves the DeLorean in 1955.
    • And why was everyone yelling in that scene?
    • Gesturing to the train, Doc explains to Marty and Jennifer, "it runs on steam!"
      • Also, a fairly large flux capacitor can be seen on the train's exterior if you look closely- it's much larger than the one on the DeLorean. While it's possible the size of the flux capacitor has to be somehow proportional to the vehicle it's a part of, it might also be that size because Doc made it out of bulky 1800s steampunk components of some sort.
    • The other problem with all these theories is this: the whole reason for the third movie is that Doc explicitly said in his letter that he *isn't* able to fix the time circuits with 1885 components. Since he's in exactly the same situation at the end of the movie (stuck in 1885 with a DeLorean with broken time circuits still in the cave from before), what's different at the end such that he *is* able to figure out how to build another time machine? The fact that he has children when he arrives in 1985 means he had at least five years to work on it, so I suppose it's possible. You just think they'd give a better explanation than "it runs on steam."
      • There are two explanations:
      • A) Motivation: First time he ended stranded in wild west, he feels an old man, he likes the wild west, and fixing a DeLorean Time Machine would be a huge effort which could end in too many changes in the timeline. But when he sent Marty Back to the Future he has a beautiful wife, a über-positive attitude to life, and the idea of a train to travel. So, when he feels depressed, he has his wife to cheer him up.
      • B) Plot: If he could fix the DeLorean or make a Time Train when he put a foot in 1885, there would not have been BttF-3. (Hey! I'm Doc Brown. I will build a Time Train, go to 2015 and buy some replacement parts, then back to 1884 just when I arrived first and give me a letter: "Hey Doc, I'm Doc. I built a steampunk time machine, went to the future and buy this parts for you. Don't forget: go to the future, buy these parts and give them to yourself with a copy of this note and then go back to 1985 for Einstein. I do this to avoid messing with the timeline. Hehehe, we are a pair of genius... PD: Take care of your teeth, I got a caries and it was YOUR fault."
      • Also, C) Marty: While we know that it would be possible for Doc to fix the DeLorean, he didn't know that for sure. He might have run into a problem that even he couldn't fix, or he might have just died before finishing it, either of which would have left Marty trapped in 1955. 1885 Doc no doubt felt responsible for Marty's predicament, and he knew that 1955 Doc would have a much easier job. He took the option that would give Marty the best chance of getting his hands on a working time machine.
      • The first time Doc is stranded in 1885, he doesn't really mind. He's done with time traveling and thinks life in 1885 is better than life in 1985. Also, suitable replacement parts won't be invented until 1947. He could invent those, but who knows how many early-20th century inventions he needs to do before he can make those? So, he decides that it's easier to stay in 1885. But Marty needs to get home, so he buries it in the mine until 1955. Note that Doc has done some inventions in 1885 to make life easier: he's invented a fridge. By the second time he gets stuck in 1885, this time with Clara, he's realized that 1885 is a dangerous place (Buford Tannen will be released from prison someday, and then what?). Perhaps Clara and the kids would like to see too how 1985 is. So Doc starts building this new time machine, which takes him years, looking at the kids' ages. I guess that after a while, he did get a little homesick about Marty and 1985. So, Doc goes back to the future.
      • Buford Tannen was probably hanged as it was the common punishment at the time for robbery.
      • There's another explanation, one that is clean and simple, and really doesn't require anything more than what we see in the movie. When Doc said that he couldn't repair the time circuits, he meant that he couldn't do it at a scale such that the DeLorean could actually carry it. Look at what had to be done to the Train to get it to work as a time machine - there's no way that a small car could carry so much. It wasn't until he had the inspiration of using a train to generate the required speed, thanks to the events leading up to Marty's return to 1985, that he realized that there was a way to make time circuits for a time machine in 1885.
      • Another alternative is that the DeLorean had redundancies in its time circuits, in an attempt to prevent being trapped in the wrong time - the redundant circuits were fried along with the originals, unfortunately, but they were both repaired by 1955 Doc. As the DeLorean was to be destroyed upon return, Doc had taken the extra circuits out, in case of some unfortunate accident. Less likely than the size explanation, and requires some extra speculation, but plausible.
      • Adding to the opinion two above, the original timeline had Doc shot just before Marty and him steal the train, and the letter was probably him effectively giving up on restoring it to functionality in good time. Given the age of his kids, he probably practically finished the train, to him, that morning, and just set it to a few minutes after Marty arrived. Don't think of it in linear time.

  • How could Doc Brown and Clara have a healthy kid at their age, let alone two? In the first film, 1955 Doc even says that he's amazed that he's going to be that old. So how is it possible for that to happen?
    • Men don't stop producing semen due to old age the same way that women undergo menopause. Doc's age is irrelevant— only Clara's. And she's considerably younger than he is.
    • Not to mention, In Vitro Fertilization or some other advanced form of fertility aid would have been available in 2015 or whenever they went to the future.
    • Mary Steenburgen was only 34 when she made BTTF III, so it's likely that her character was somewhere around the same age, still perfectly within the normal age range for having a child. Second, Doc did go to a Rejuvenation Clinic before picking up Marty at the end of BTTF I. Maybe the reproductive system is covered as part of the "total overhaul" Doc said. Although again, men never really lose the ability to have kids (there are men today who have had kids in their 70s, 80s, even 90s, though with much younger women, naturally).
    • That is true, but the OP's point still stands: the quality of semen starts to deteriorate when men reach their forties, and the possibility of fathering a child with physical or mental defects increases over time.
    • "Possibility" is the key word there, not "100% guaranteed certainty with no chance of it being otherwise". While the above is true, in the real world enough men over forty have nevertheless managed to father perfectly healthy children (both physically and mentally) to make it far from impossible or a major plot-hole that Doc might also manage to do so. Just put it down to Doc being "rejuvenated" if you desperately need a Hand Wave for it. As an example, U.S. President John Tyler fathered his youngest child at age 70 and she wasn't known to have suffered any significant physical or mental defects related to her father's age. It can happen, but that doesn't mean it always happens.

  • Since Doc stays in 1885, how does he get away with stealing and wrecking the train?
    • The only witness saw him with a scarf over his face. They didn't exactly have CSI's back in the 19th century to link him to the crime.
    • Same way other train robbers did. Rode like hell to another state and kept his head down until the interest and warrants expired. Since all he stole was the locomotive and not the payroll or passenger goods, then that would probably be pretty quick. No one says he has to go back to Hill Valley until he is ready to go see Marty.
      • Add to that the fact he was the crackpot inventor, and the legend of Clint Eastwood has him falling into the ravine on board the train, likely he came back, admitted that his experiment hit a minor 'snag', and the people of Hill Valley just didn't want to know. They just made a legend about a lone gunman who came into Hill Valley, saved them from Buford Tannen and then was lost in a train accident, the nature of which is never recorded.
  • When 1955 Doc saw his tombstone, how come 1885 Doc didn't remember it?
    • Because that Doc never saw the tombstone, in the same way that the Doc from the start of the first film didn't remember meeting Marty in 1955.
      • What are you talking about? If Doc didn't remember Marty then how would you explain in the new 1985 the Doc wore a bulletproof vest when he faced the Libyans?
      • That's Doc from the end of the first film, after Marty has traveled back to 1955. The Doc at the start of the film very likely didn't have a bullet-proof vest, and did in fact die.
    • It's been stated that effects from time travel don't happen until after the time travel itself does. So, each time someone time travels throughout the series, at all, they are creating a different timeline when they come back (even if the difference is only minimal). So, in the first film, before Marty goes back to 1955, his dad's a wuss, his mom's an alcoholic, and Doc dies from Libyan gunfire. Then he come back from 1955, and his dad's a successful author, his mom is thin, and Doc survived. Then they go to 2015 and Biff goes back to 1955, and 1985 is hell. Then they go back to 1955 and stop young Biff from hanging on to the Almanac, and 1985 goes back to "close enough" to what it was after Marty first went back to 1955 (though Biff may be not quite the pushover he was in the "first alternate" 1985, YMMV), and 1985 Doc gets lightninged back to 1885. Then Marty enlists 1955 Doc's help again to get back, at which point they see 1885 Doc's tombstone. Because 1955 Doc hadn't seen the tombstone before 1985 Doc went to 1885 (because there wouldn't be a tombstone to see, since Doc wasn't there "yet"), 1885 Doc doesn't know about it until Marty shows him the picture.
      • Then how does the vanishing thing work? Also, if the time traveller creates an alternate timeline, how did Marty get Doc's letter in the first place? Shouldn't that have ended up in another timeline?
      • The sending of the letter has no reason to be affected, it was sent by 1885 Doc a week before his death. Even as Marty travels to 1885 and changes the outcome for Doc to live much longer than a weak after he sent the letter, the letter was still sent and Marty's trip didn't changed that.
      • I see that only Marty still remains consistent from the original first timeline. Everyone else is living in the alternate timeline(s), and the 'vanishing thing' is a sign that history is moving onto a different timeline. When it reverses, it's CLOSE ENOUGH to the original timeline.

  • So, Doc couldn't repair the time circuits with 1885 components. But he knew how to fix them with 1955 technology; couldn't he build the components he needed? He was able to build a steampunk ice-making machine, would it be that difficult to build 1955 circuits? I don't have knowledge of these things, so probably my question is stupid... but why is it impossible?
    • Because making refrigeration coils is considerably easier than making something to produce a vacuum and thus vacuum tubes, which are clearly a part of the 1955 "microchip"?
    • Pulling a vacuum isn't that tough (see Magdeburg Hemispheres, 1656). But decently working vacuum tubes are tougher than you might think. Glass-to-metal seals (so the connections can get out without letting air in), some fairly exotic alloy coatings on the elements to improve emission from the cathode and reduce secondary emission from the others... even if Doc knew all about that, he wouldn't necessarily have access to the raw materials in a small settlement in the Old West. Then there are other parts like resistors and capacitors... maybe hundreds of feet of magnet wire for transformer windings... all this stuff took a lot of incremental development to get, even to 1955 standards.
    • He does, eventually, to build the time train.
    • I'll add a bit of Fridge Brilliance. Let's say that he needed roughly a decade to do the time circuits. He had a week, maybe two, before he was going to be killed. I think he didn't really have time?

  • Okay, Doc has somehow made a refrigerator that fills an entire room. Why is he filling the thing with original Hill Valley water? Surely he can build some filters or an evaporator/condenser into the thing to purify the stuff he drinks. Heck, the thing appears to be steam-powered, so why can't he capture the steam coming off the boiler and drink that?
    • He still has to get the water from somewhere, so he probably figures it's easier to just use the most conveniently available water source. Plus, he probably doesn't want to have to spend ages filtering it, purifying it or collecting every evaporated drop every time he just wants a quick drink. Besides which, he presumably had to live on the local water supply before he got the refrigerator up-and-running, so it's likely he simply got used to the taste, or even likes it.

  • The engineer in Part III tells Marty and the Doc he can get the locomotive up to 50 fairly easily, and that 70 isn't out of the realm of possibility. Why did Doc throw in his doctored logs when the train was only going 20?
    • As Doc pointed out, they were based on a chemical formula designed to "kick in" one by one - presumably their exposure to heat over time starts the chain reaction that increases the boiler pressure sequentially, so throwing them in later would actually be counter-productive as the train wouldn't get up to speed before plunging over the ravine with them both inside the DeLorean. Of more concern is why Marty didn't give the Doc the hover-board in the first place to prevent him having to make a very dangerous jump from the train to the DeLorean.
      • Perhaps it's also an example of the writing staff showing their work. Many American railroad tracks, in the period which the movie is set, were built hastily and to very low quality standards. Trains often moved slowly not because of technical limitations, but because the track was so poor that they could derail at higher speeds. Doc might have realized that the more time the train spent around 88MPH, the greater the chance that the train would crash and the whole plan would fail.
      • Ah, but once the train hit 88MPH, the time machine (with them in it) would leave that time frame and the fate of the train wouldn't matter. You're just not thinking fourth-dimensionally.
      • You're not thinking third-dimensionally, if the train derails before they hit 88 MPH because it accelerated too quickly what good is that? They would have blown their chance to get back and would be severely injured if not worse.
    • They only had a certain amount of track before they reached the ravine. It's best to accelerate as fast as you reasonably can.

  • Marty and the Doc end up with a photo of an empty burial plot. So what would happen if Marty or Doc (or someone else) went to the 1955 graveyard and spied on Marty and 1955-Doc digging out the buried DeLorean? What would cause Marty to return to 1885 to save Doc?
    • I presumed Doc set a false tombstone to maintain the timeline.
      • Then the post-ripple photograph would have been the false tombstone, not an empty burial plot. A bigger question is why would the burial plot be empty after 70 years in a cemetery? Wouldn't someone else have been buried there by then?
      • It's possible that the photograph was empty, because at the time, it looked like Doc would go back to 1985 with Marty, and thus wouldn't have an opportunity to set a false tombstone. After he ended up having to stay in 1885, he may have tied up that loose end.
    • Same reason why Jennifer still has the piece of paper that read "YOU'RE FIRED!" before the timeline changed, and why Marty still has the photo of him and his siblings in the first film: they're immune to the Ripple Effect.
    • Doc at one point says the picture represents what will happen with regards to the confrontation with Tannen. It's essentially become not just a picture of a plot of land, but an artifact representing the potential outcomes of time travel. Thus why it fades out completely when the confrontation is resolved without anyone dying. There might actually be someone buried there now, but the photo didn't need to show it because it's not relevant to what the photo is now.
    • That timeline doesn't exist anymore. The movie doesn't say, but there are an additional timeline: Marty's timeline, the one the movie follows. While 1955 Doc and Marty finding the tombstone exists in Marty's timeline, spurring him to save 1885 Doc, it doesn't exist in the common timeline. It is pointless to try and figure out what would happen in another timeline as a result, since it doesn't exist, anymore.
    • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory is basically a Required Secondary Power for any time travel in the series to function without causing a paradox over the smallest things. Marty and Doc don't need an impetus to go back and prevent Doc's death, because they've "already" done it and remember doing so and why. Granted, it's inconvenient when you come back to an altered timeline and everything's different, but better a little (or a lot of) shock at a different timeline than a universe-destroying paradox.

  • The DeLorean that Doc came to 1885 in should still be in the cave. right? Surely, there should still be some gas in there. Even if it's all evaporated, couldn't he leave a note in it that says "Marty, put a can of extra gas in the trunk. Trust me on this. Thanks."?
    • Doc wouldn't mess with the car in the cave unless there was no other alternative because even the slightest mistake could alter the timeline.
      • Go to post office, ask for your letter back, add a little addendum, give it back to the post office.
      • First off, the letter that Doc wrote told Marty to not come back to get him and to return directly to 1985 and destroy the time machine. It wouldn't make any sense for Doc to put in a "P.S. bring a can of gas." if Doc had already said the intent was just to take one trip to 1985 and destroy it. If Doc added in an explanation about Marty coming back to get him, it would probably create a paradox or other timeline issues. Secondly, how time travel seems to work is the effects on the timeline don't occur until one goes back in time. Even if Doc did ad an addendum, he and Marty wouldn't feel its effects until 1955 came around and the other Marty went back, at which point Doc, even if he survived Buford's wrath would have died of old age and Marty would be in his late 80s, if he wasn't dead yet. Eventually there would be benefit, but it would be to different versions of them.
    • The gas tank also received a nice, big hole in it. Materials and tools for a proper patching job wouldn't be available for decades, and a makeshift one wouldn't be reliable.
      • This is grasping at straws. You really don't need much to fix a hole in a watertight, non-pressurized vessel.
      • But even then, there's the gas tank on the DeLorean in the cave that's still good.
      • Gasoline has a shelf life. Even 1 year old gas will cause lots of problems.
      • And, conveniently, Marty goes back to about nine months after Doc arrives in 1885. By then Doc would have already prepared the DeLorean and buried it in the mine. Even if he had kept the gasoline when he drained it, after nine months stored in an 1885 container it would be ruined as fuel or evaporated, or both.
      • There'd be no gas in the buried DeLorean because, as any gear-head will tell you, when you put a car into long-term storage, you have to drain all fluids from it. Especially gasoline, because it will corrode the tank. Also, in 1955, the 1955 Doc says to Marty "I put gas in the tank", so it was already established that there was no gas in there.

  • If Doc knew the risks of time traveling and changing the time course since 1955 then why did he decide to stay and live in 1885? Isn't that a highly risky way of changing the time course too?
    • It is, but in Doc's mind it was less risky than the only other option of having Marty come back and try to rescue him. Doc figured that he could manage his own influence on history by being as low-key as possible. As far as the other residents of 1885 knew he was just some old blacksmith who lived in his workshop. Marty coming back for him introduces a whole lot of new variables, since Marty has a history of messing up the time stream and Doc was afraid it would only make things worse than they already were.
    • This is actually a great answer to another Headscratcher, "Why did Doc build another time machine after being so adamant that his first one be destroyed?" Doc's seen, first hand during Marty's visit, that even just his existing in the past has the chance to alter the course of history, potentially in catastrophic ways. So he sets about building another time machine, figuring that traveling around in time is less dangerous than remaining in one time he's not supposed to be in for the rest of his life.

  • Why was it considered necessary to put the DeLorean in front of the train? Pulling only failed because they were using horses, which couldn't reach 88 mph even unencumbered. If they had simply attached the DeLorean to the rear of the train, there would've been no need to climb forward past the boiler, they'd have had more time for the car to accelerate, they could even have towed it at the end of a long line and used the speed of the train falling into the gorge to provide a final acceleration boost...the only reason to put the car in front of the train seems to have been to create an action sequence.
    • Probably easier to keep it on the rails. Pull it and no matter how they attach it there is a risk of it breaking loose and bouncing around, easier to counter that from up front and easier to monitor for the portion they are on the footplate. Might also be to make sure that it is already in the future when the train starts to fall, given how tight they thought it was going to be, there was always the possibility that there might be movement of the car if it was pulled and they really couldn't afford even a slight amount of vertical movement.
    • There's also the matter that since acquiring the locomotive was the last step of the setup, in order for it to pull the DeLorean, they would have to put it on the tracks after getting the train in place. And considering they'd just stolen the locomotive in broad daylight, they wouldn't want to spend any extra time in which the authorities might be able to catch them.
    • Also, remember how, when the red log blew, the acceleration burst was enough make the DeLorean pop a wheelie for several seconds? Doc may have been concerned about getting a material strong enough to tow the DeLorean behind the locomotive that would stand up to his planned accelerations, as well as the DeLorean itself being able to withstand being towed under those forces (remember his line in Part II about Biff's '46 Ford ripping through them like tinfoil?)

  • Was it really necessary for Doc to explain Marty that the DeLorean's engine used gasoline? He damaged the tank and saw it spilling fuel after all! Also how could Marty forget that by saying it still had Mr. Fusion?
    • Marty hadn't forgotten that. He was simply assuming that Doc, having futurized the DeLorean with Mr. Fusion and what-not on his trip to 2015, had also done something with the car's fuel system so that it would be able to run on something other than standard gas. Essentially, he was under the impression that Mr. Fusion could also be used to power the car itself rather than just the time circuits (which, considering that Mr. Fusion is basically a compact nuclear generator from the future, perhaps isn't an entirely unreasonable assumption for Marty to make, to be fair). Doc was explaining that no, he actually hadn't done that, that the car itself still ran on petroleum, and that the ruptured fuel tank and lack of gasoline was in fact a bigger problem than Marty had assumed in that, instead of it being a minor inconvenience, it meant that they were pretty much screwed.

  • Why do Marty and Doc act like Doc getting shot is inevitable, to the point where they think they need to come up with a way of returning to the future before it's due to happen. It's explicitly stated that the future can be changed in the Back to the Future universe; Doc just has to skip town for the day or ensure he pays Tannen the eighty dollars he owes him.
    • The problem with both those theories is that you're assuming Tannen would forget about Doc or forgive him after Doc pissed him off. If Doc did either of those things all that would change is the date on which he died. Meanwhile Marty doesn't have time to just hang out in 1885, he's still aging and has a life he needs to get back to.
    • This is a guy called "Mad Dog" we're talking about, who once shot a newspaper editor for printing an unfavorable story about him. Even if Doc had paid him, he probably would have shot him anyway for his own amusement. We see in a deleted scene that after threatening Marshall Strickland to let them pass or else he'll shoot him, he proceeds to shoot him anyway. Plus, by the point that Doc realizes he's got shot in other the timeline, he had already foiled Buford's plan to hang the person who pushed his Berserk Button and basically told him to go to hell. Buford is not going to be in the most forgiving mood, and by the time he does try to shoot him, its less about the money and more about the fact that Doc damaged his ego.
    • The thing is, they don't have any idea where Doc will be shot. For all they know, Doc did skip town, and Buford ran into him on the road. It also turns out they're wrong about when he'll be shot — they assume, because of the date on the tombstone, that Doc is shot on Monday and dies instantly, when it turns out that Buford shoots him with a derringer on Saturday and he died two days later. TL;DR: They don't know enough about the circumstances of Doc being shot to avoid it reliably, so they try to get out before it can happen.

  • How did Doc's original murder play out exactly? Let's assume the exact same events like in the film play out: Doc and Clara meet at the dance. Tannen shows up and holds the gun in Doc's back. Then he notices Clara and decides to have a little fun with her before shooting Doc. Tannen's cronies hold back Doc, Clara kicks Tannen in the shin, things escalate and he's now about to shoot Doc in the head. If Marty hadn't been there to intervene, Doc would've definitely died right there on Saturday from a head wound, not from internal bleeding.
    • Can we assume that if not for Doc's comment "Tannen, you're early!", Tannen would've shot him in the back without hesitation?
      • To elaborate, the Doc we follow in the movie knows that he's going to be shot. The version of Doc that Marty finds the grave of did not know, thus he would have acted differently than "our" Doc. The Doc we follow tenses up immediately since Buford is "early" while the other Doc may have dismissed Buford's threats.

  • It seems a little odd that Marshall Strickland is portrayed as a heroic, sympathetic character whose death scene was actually cut out because the writers felt they couldn't include it without killing Tannen in retribution. The Strickland of 1955 and 1985 is portrayed as a jerkass and I'd say every other character apart from George McFly at the start of Part I is shown to have a consistent personality across the various generations of their family trees.
    • He's not portrayed as a jerkass. He's portrayed as a strict authority figure, which he is in both time periods. He gives Marty a hard time because Marty is a slacker who's always late. He gives George a hard time because he's a wimp and he wants George to toughen up. He gives Biff a hard time because Biff's a bully who frankly deserves to have the principal on his case.

  • Why was Clayton Ravine renamed Eastwood Ravine after the train fell there? Think about it: Doc and Marty covered their faces with scarves when they robbed the train. If they were never recognized, no one would know "Clint Eastwood" was aboard the train, nor would any bodies be found in the ravine. At the end of the movie "Eastwood" was leaving town, saying goodbye to Seamus McFly and all, so people would have simply thought he went back to wherever he came from. But if Doc and Marty were recognized, that would mean Doc was in serious trouble with the law, and he would probably face a long prison sentence, if not hanging. Even if he somehow managed to escape the law, he would have to hide somewhere with no people around, which would make building the time travel train we see at the end of the movie almost impossible. So most likely Doc and Marty were never recognized as the train robbers. And even if they were recognized, naming a ravine in honor of a teacher who tragically fell there is one thing, but naming it after an armed robber seems quite unlikely.
    • There's nothing suggesting that they knew "Clint Eastwood" was the robber. Doc was forced to cancel his "trip out of town" so in order to explain Marty's absence, he may of said that Marty stopped the train robbers and went down with the train.
    • But at the end of the movie, "Clint Eastwood" was leaving town and saying his goodbyes to everyone. Doc would not have to come up with any explanation what happened to him, he was simply a guy who visited the town for a while, and then left. Why would Doc need to spin a story that would only raise more questions, when no such story was needed? For example, if someone decided to check the train's crash site, he would find out there are no human remains there. This would make Doc's story that "Eastwood" went down with the train fairly suspicious. Also, Doc would have to explain how "Eastwood" happened to be there to stop the robbers. Since the train engineer saw only the two robbers taking the locomotive, that would mean that (according to Doc's story) "Eastwood" noticed a high-speed locomotive, figured out it was robbed, and somehow boarded it while it was on the move. And Doc was somehow there to see it all. On top of that, by saying that he witnessed all these events, Doc might raise the engineer's suspicion, and he might figure out Doc looks and sounds exactly like one of the robbers. So there really is no point for Doc to come up with any story about "Eastwood's" demise.
    • Doc was with Marty when they rode out of town and he told the other townsmen that he was leaving with Marty. When Doc didn't end up going back to the future, he obviously had to stay in Hill Valley and thus give an explanation for why he was still there when he had previously said he was leaving. He might have thought to explain away Marty's absence so people who, say, wanted to meet him because of him taking down Buford, so as to save himself trouble in the future. Plus the official FAQ by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale said that the Ravine was named in honor in "Clint Eastwood" after his supposed death in honor of his standing up to Buford.
    • But Doc still doesn't need to come up with a story that connects him and "Clint Eastwood" to a train robbery, which might lead to further investigations that reveal Doc's involvement in the robbery. He could simply say that he realized he would miss Hill Valley, so he decided to return, whereas "Eastwood" continued his travels. Even if someone decided to look for "Eastwood" and didn't find him, that wouldn't make Doc's story suspicious, because the USA is a huge country and finding one person would be very hard. There's simply no need for Doc to explain away Marty's disappearance, because no one but him and Clara know he disappeared.
    • Word of God by Zemeckis and Gale in the official FAQ said that "Clint Eastwood" was believed lost in the ravine by the townspeople and the ravine was renamed in his memory, possibly because of his action against Mad Dog. So it is apparent that the city believed he went down with the train.
    • Even though it's Word of God, it doesn't explain why Doc decided to tell everyone "Eastwood" went down with the train, instead of just letting people think he travelled somewhere else.
    • Because it's a way of making absolutely sure that no one asks any potentially awkward questions about what happened or is continuing to "Eastwood", as well as enabling Doc to have one story to tell people and keep straight. The USA is a big country yes, but even in 1885 people were still capable of writing to, telegraphing, generally keeping in touch with and occasionally even visiting other people they were friendly with. Doc saying that "Eastwood" has gone traveling means that people might occasionally ask where he is, how he is, whether Doc's heard from him, what he's up to, etc., which means that Doc might have to keep making up lies about what he's up to or why he's not getting in touch. Whereas "Eastwood heroically died trying to stop a train robbery" not only gives "Eastwood" a coolly heroic way of exiting the scene, it also makes definitely sure that no one's going to ask any questions about what Eastwood's up to after that point.
    • The people of Hill Valley may have just wanted a new name for "Shonash Ravine," and some time after "Clint Eastwood" left, they decided that the last name of the guy who finally took down Hill Valley's most notorious outlaw was the name they wanted.

  • At the end of Part 1, Marty's family assumed that he was going to the lake in his truck. At the end of this movie, his mom says she thought he was at the lake. Why did she think he was at the lake when his truck, which Biff was just waxing, was still in the garage?
    • In the perspective of 1985, Marty was away from the house for a pretty brief time, probably in the range of a half hour tops. They just haven't got out of the house yet.
    • The end of Part I took place on Saturday, October 26. The 1985 scenes in Part III take place the following day on Sunday, October 27. So from the McFlys perspective, a full day has passed since they last saw Marty, so they should have wondered where he was if he didn't take his truck.
    • Marty is planning to go to the lake with Jennifer, possibly as part of a larger social event, and take his truck. Day of trip arrives, Marty is not there, truck is. Most logical conclusion for laid-back parents who let their kid live his own life: he decided to get a ride with friends or something rather than take his truck.
  • 1955 Doc sends Marty back to 1885 at 8:00 a.m. September 2. Marty gets knocked out like five minutes later and is found by Seamus. When he wakes up, Maggie tells him he's been asleep for almost 6 hours. If it's 6 hours after 8:00 a.m., it should only be about 2:00 p.m., yet it's completely dark outside and Seamus soon brings home supper. What's up with that?
    • It doesn't look like it's 8 a.m. when Marty arrives to 1885: the shadows the Native Americans cast are fairly short, and it looks more like 2 p.m. Maybe the time machine just didn't work that accurately this time? It had been lying dormant for 70 years, so maybe it had a few bugs 1955 Doc couldn't fix?
    • No one directly says that Marty slept for six hours straight from being knocked out to waking up in the McFly homestead. Given his experiences, his head injury and his general disorientation, he could have spend several hours drifting in and out of semi-consciousness and fever before finally getting six straight hours of sleep.
  • When trying to find records of Doc in 1885, Marty suggests that it might be a different Emmett Brown and asks Doc if he had any relatives there at that time. Doc says that the Browns didn't come to Hill Valley until 1908 and were then called the Von Brauns. Why don't they consider that it might be someone unrelated? Brown is one of the most common surnames in the English speaking world. The phone book in Part I was chock full of Browns.
    • That's in 1955, when Hill Valley is a pretty large city consisting of thousands of people. In 1885, there's maybe a couple hundred. And much less likely to be a coincidence that there's another, totally unrelated Emmett L. Brown in the place that they know for certain their Emmett L. Brown landed and established himself as a public figure. Also note that they still go to the records and confirm it with the photograph.
  • Why did Doc turn down Marty's suggestion of bringing Clara back with them? He says to not alter the timeline, but since Clara was supposed to have died, she doesn't belong there anymore than Marty or Doc do? Why didn't Marty bring this up? For all they know, she could end up marrying someone and having a descendant who caused a nuclear war, while the person that she hypothetically married could have married someone else in the original timeline and had a descendant who brought about world peace.
    • Because at the time, Doc wasn't thinking clearly. He felt that taking Clara with them to 1985 would akin to him changing the timeline for his own personal benefit. After having experienced the consequences for himself, he didn't want to take any more risks. Bear in mind that Doc and Marty in the films were very new to time travel and weren't fully aware of all the effects and consequences. While Doc would've had more time, Marty had only been time traveling a handful of times over a period of two weeks while Doc at the end of BTTF1 had little more experience than Marty.
  • It made for a funny joke and all, but why did Buford's goons announce that they were robbing the Pine City Stage the next day in public with tons of witnesses around? They may not be smart, but are they really that stupid? It was probably because of that that they were arrested at the climax.
    • They kinda are that stupid, yes, and counting on everyone's fear of them.
    • Plus, they're already accessories to an attempted murder. It's not like they haven't already broken the law by that point.
  • When Marshall Strickland broke up the altercation between Marty and Buford at the festival, why wasn't Buford arrested for attempted murder? There were dozens of witnesses who saw him try to shoot Doc.
    • Strickland didn't see the shot himself, and everyone else is too afraid of Buford to say anything.
  • Even if he had the hoverboard to reverse-engineer, how he was able to create that time traveling hover-train is unexplained (considering he needed a massive, room-sized contraption to synthesize a single ice cube).
    • He also had access to the broken Delorean that he later sealed in the mine.
    • Same reason he could build a an ice maker that took up an entire room. He knew what the end product would be the issue was simply the size of the parts he would need given he couldn't miniaturize them on his own. Using the train instead of the frame of a car actually solves most of those problems in theory. Without the size and weight restrictions of the Delorean Doc could simply build a manual version of most of the equipment involved including a giant bulky flux capacitor as seen in the ending. Heck the original 1.21 Gigawatts requirement from the Delorean version could very well be attributed to the sheer number of miniaturized parts and circuits he needed to cram into a car sized package that could still drive.
    • The answer to this is mentioned in the last lines of the franchise. Marty says "Where you going Doc, back to the future?" and Doc replies "Nope, already been there". The train subsequently lifts off, revealing it has had a hover conversion done. It is a bit ambiguous of whether Doc went to 2015, or went to some later date, prior to stopping by October 1985 to pick up his dog and let Marty know he was indeed alright.
  • This applies to the last movie as well, but why doesn't Doc tell Marty about the car accident he'll soon get into. Yes, he says that it might just make things worse, but Marty told him about the future when he warned him about the Libyans and Doc already tried to fix Marty's future by preventing his kids from going to jail. If he wants Marty to get over his chicken problem, why not give him a specific example of how it gets him into trouble?
    • That wouldn't guarantee that Marty would get over the chicken problem. It would just keep him from getting into that specific situation. If Doc warned him out of a situation in which he was merely injured and gave up the guitar, he might wind up in a fatal accident, or something even worse.
  • How did Doc and Marty sneak the DeLorean into Doc's workshop without anyone noticing the futuristic car?
    • They probably acquired a covered wagon of some kind, pushed it on there (or, if necessary, covered it with something and pushed it/pulled it with some horses) and snuck it into town very late at night / very early in the morning, when there were likely to be less people walking about to ask questions.
  • How was it Doc's tombstone got Copernicus' attention in the first place? Especially when instead of treating it as territory to mark, as most male dogs tend to treat vertical objects, he reacted with appropriate emotion. Does Doc have one of the very few literate dogs around?
    • Copernicus sensed there was something wrong with the tombstone, yet couldn't articulate what. Some dogs are sensitive to bad auras, and Copernicus must be one of them.
  • What I'm curious about, is why couldn't Doc take Clara to show her the DeLorean to prove he isn't bluffing, and also use Marty as an alibi? He'll say, "Come with me and I'll prove it to you." After showing her, Marty can vouch for him and say something along the lines of "He's telling the truth, ma'am. We're from the future." After he shows her, Doc can inform her that the DeLorean in itself is a machine that won't exist for another century. That alone would tell Clara that this machine's from the future. Doc could at least show her some tangible evidence that he wasn't lying to her. I mean, come on! She realized that after looking at a crude wooden model, so it's safe to assume she would definitely believe after seeing the actual thing. Also, Doc and Marty knew already that the repercussions of Clara not falling into the ravine were just a tiny, superficial blip. Doc eventually realized on the train that they'd just have to take her back too, so couldn't they have done that after they show her? Show her the time machine, she'll realize the truth, and she can come to the future.
    • People who are in very emotional states who feel rejected by the one and only love of their lives don't think things through in a completely rational and well-reasoned manner with the benefit of hindsight.
  • So the DeLorean's flying circuits were destroyed when the lightning bolt struck it, but it was in mid air when that happened, so shouldn't it have plummeted to the ground and exploded when it arrived in 1885?
    • Likely that Every Car Is a Pinto was averted. And the car wasn't that high up; maybe twenty feet or so. A hard landing, but a survivable one.
    • Doc said in his letter that the emergency landing fail-safe kicked in and got him down safely, but the primary flight mechanism was gone for a Burton.
  • Marty suggests to Doc that they bring Clara to 1985 with them, but Doc dismisses this, mentioning that it's not worth disrupting the timeline. However, in the original timeline, Clara fell into Shonash Ravine and died anyway, so bringing her with them would actually preserve the timeline.
    • Except, now it's "Eastwood Ravine" instead of "Clayton Ravine."
    • First of all, Doc was in one of his "mustn't disrupt the space-time continuum" moods at that point, and the fact that he had already disrupted it by saving Clara's life wouldn't have mitigated compounding the change in his view. Secondly, bringing someone to 1985 who not only hadn't been there in the original timeline but was also socialized for the nineteenth century could have really kicked up some trouble (not in the least for Clara herself - imagine just trying to explain to her that yes, she really could vote in 1985, for example).
  • Since Marty's ancestor Maggie McFly looks like his mom Lorraine Baines, does that mean the McFlys and Baines' are related somehow?
    • No. Word of God is that McFly men are just predisposed to find people who look like Lorraine attractive.
      • So...Word of God is that McFly men have an Oedipus complex?
      • The whole first movie is basically about Marty having to navigate around the Oedipus complex; this should not come as a huge surprise.
  • The time train. I'll accept the Hand Wave that it runs on steam, fine. But how the hell did Doc convince a mechanic in 2015 to hover-convert it? How did he even get it to them in the first place? After all, it's a train. They're generally not known for doing all that well when off their tracks.
    • He couldn't have had a 2015 mechanic do it at all (because there'd be no more way to get the train up to 88 mph without running the same Future-Or-Bust risk that he and Marty take in III). He had to have done it himself.
      • Fridge Brilliance: He had saved the unused damaged flying parts from the DeLorean and simply waited until available resources were discovered to either repair them or re-engineer their mechanics. This is why when we see the Doc again, enough time has elapsed for him to have two young sons.
      • Doc went forward in time enough to find the person who invented the mechanism that allow cars (and hoverboards) to fly, then stole the tech and maybe even killed the inventor - or paid them not to invent it. And that's why we didn't have hoverboards and flying car in the real 2015.
      • On the other hand, as of September 1, the Doc had given up on repairing the DeLorean or, presumably, building another time machine. He had also decided that the DeLorean must be destroyed because it could only cause heartbreak and disaster. When the train appears, it's clear that all that has changed. Why? In a word, Clara. She's shown to be extremely intelligent in her own right and may have suggested 19th-century solutions to some of the problems with making a working time machine, and she has probably changed the Doc's outlook on life to be much more optimistic.
      • The comics actually explain how this is: Doc dismantled the hoverboard that was left behind and used one of it's core pieces to store up the 1.21 gigawatts and he built a new Flux Capacitor. As another troper mentioned above, there was no way for the train to get up to 88 MPH without crashing it so he got a steam-powered tricycle and used the Flux Capacitor to turn it into a proto-time machine, but he needed a diving suit since there was no frame to protect his body from time traveling. He jumped forward to 2035 and grabbed all the parts he needed to turn the train into a flying time machine before heading back and finishing it.
  • In the big train finale for Part III, why did Doc opt to make a dangerous shimmy on the outside of an overheating steam engine rather than using the hoverboard? If nothing else, it would've saved him from having to worry about his footing as he made his way to the front of the locomotive. Probably would've been faster, too.
    • He probably just didn't think of it, and using it risks dropping it and accidentally leaving future tech in the past.
  • At the end, when Marty fakes out Needles instead of racing him, he notices that he would have struck a Rolls Royce had he actually been dumb enough to accept the challenge. However, as Needles blows past the street from where the Rolls emerges, no stoplights nor stop signs are visible on the main road. This would suggest that traffic on that road (which would have included Marty) had right of way, and that the Rolls Royce driver ran a stop sign. How, then, would the driver have been able to take significant legal action against Marty in the previous timeline?
    • Marty would have been both street racing (illegal) and speeding (also illegal), and his giant truck would have demolished the Rolls and seriously injured — if not killed — whoever was inside. Even if the Rolls driver was slightly at fault for running the stop sign, Marty would have been way more at fault for recklessly driving.
    • Also, if you can afford a Rolls Royce, you can probably afford a decent enough lawyer to make mincemeat, so to speak, out of some headstrong middle-class teenager with problems thinking fourth-dimensionally. Whether the owner of the Rolls would win in court, he could probably tie Marty up in enough legal action (and not, as mentioned above, entirely frivolously at that) to completely tank Marty's credit rating and force him to reach a settlement.
    • Plus, when one considers that Marty's defense for why he was racing and going at speeds way above the speed limit would have been "they called me chicken", it's not hard to understand why the court would side against him. Not to mention that even if the Rolls Royce driver was deemed to have contributory negligence, Marty would probably still have to play a hefty sum.
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