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  • Regarding Marty's letter warning Doc about being shot in 1985. When Marty returns 'back from the future' at the end of part II Doc faints, requiring Marty to drive him home. Wouldn't this mean no one collects the pieces of the letter leading to a paradox where Doc doesn't survive being shot by the Libyans?
    • In the first film, Doc absentmindedly puts the pieces of the letter in his coat pocket after tearing it up when his attention is diverted to the broken cable. There's no sign that they fall out when he faints. For that matter, Marty could have picked them up and taped the letter back together himself while Doc was unconscious (but there's no evidence he did - after all, that Marty knows Doc did eventually read the letter.)

  • 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!
    • He wanted to destroy the DeLorean because it had ended up causing a bunch of issues (which, to be fair, he was right); he's depressed and sour about time travel at that point. Notice that his comments about destroying the time machine are always said in the heat of the moment, when he's in the middle of dealing with a crisis situation. Once he gets the chance to cool off, his attitude invariably changes. 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.
    • 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 Hell Valley, to rediscover his sense of wonder about time travel and build the time train.
    • Remember also a highly advanced, for the 19th century, car would completely change history if left lying around. The train uses steampunk technology, which is less conspicuous.
    • Doc probably also wished to prove to his two sons that his being a time traveler is true and not wild stories.
    • He built the train over 10 years after making the statement. People change opinion over time.

  • Nobody in the McFly family 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 to see his family like he doesn't know them (because he doesn't, due to the events in part I), then runs off (start of part II) and the next day returns wearing a cowboy costume and shouting about how he's relieved they were "back to normal" (end of part III).
    • The McFly and Baines clans have a lot of nuts in their family trees ("Jailbird Joey"). Marty is somewhat normal by comparison.
    • Marty rolls with Doc Brown. You think this is the first time he's come home disoriented and freaked out?
    • Maybe George and Lorraine are smarter than we give credit to and figured out Marty and the time travel business. After all, George is a sci-fi writer, so he's likely familiar with the trope. In 1955 Marty makes a seemingly cryptic remark about setting fire to the living room rug, and on this very wiki there's a headscratcher how neither of them questioned "Calvin Klein" looking exactly like their teenage son 30 years later...
    • This very film shows that two of Georgeís ancestors looked exactly like Marty, so George would more likely make the connection to them than to Calvin.

  • Why does 1885 Hill Valley look so different? 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 other time periods we see it, it's damp, with lush vegetation and prone to strong, drenching rainstorms.
    • Evidently there was some very aggressive landscaping done in the intervening decades. It's not like the States haven't done it before (ahem, Las Vegas?).
    • Remember the first two movies are set largely in late October to early 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.
    • 1885 Hill Valley, which is little more than the future clock square, is surrounded by pine forest, not desert. The pine forest is cut down and turned into farmland by 1955, then suburbs by 1985 (George and Lorraine's neighborhood) and 2015 (Marty and Jennifer's). The desert is miles out of town, and it's still a desert in 1955 (drive-in theater scene). Marty has to follow the railroad to reach 1885 Hill Valley.

  • 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 before Tannen killed Doc. He says it'd take a month just to repair one broken part on the car when it blows out, remember. Plus, 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. So even if Doc could build one, it'd probably be bigger than the car.

  • 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.
    • 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 and has buried the DeLorean 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 (refer to an above headscratcher on why Doc wanted to destroy the DeLorean but built a time train - he only said those comments in passionate moments).

  • What the hell kind of Westerns did young Brown watch to make him think that cowboy costume was a go?
    • Given his age, black-and-white. The outfit wouldn't have been that bad in B&W.
    • The novelization specifically mentions that his main source for ideas about the old west was Roy Rogers, who was a big TV star cowboy in 1955.
    • 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.
      • Intelligence doesn't equal Knowledge, and Knowledge doesn't equal Being correct. 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. After all, he in I he set December 25th, year 0 as the birthdate of Christ.
    • The clothes were the best he could get at such short notice and he thought they'd have to do.
      • They had a time machine. They quite literally had all the time in the world to prepare Marty for his trip.
      • Doc probably also wanted to get the whole thing done as soon as possible, given the last time Marty was in 1955 he almost erased his own existence.
    • Consider also back then, people dressed up for photographs instead of wearing their normal day clothes, so any photos Doc saw would've been inaccurate.

  • 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 is peculiar 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 be explained by the fact that Marty's in a car being driven over terrain it wasn't designed for, which will likely change make its possible top speed fluctuate.
    • Seems more surprising that the horses didn't freak out, since they wouldn't be familiar with automobiles and wouldn't have the human ability to filter out sudden noises and stay focused on their goal.

  • Marty and Doc are all in a hurry to get back to the future before Doc gets a bullet in his back, hence the idea of using a train. But when Buford is beaten they 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?
    • Neither Doc nor Marty have been shown to perform well when agitated. Both of them were probably sick of 1885.
    • 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. 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".
    • Another point to consider: 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. The plan which takes them out into the middle of nowhere is the best possible option available from an evidence perspective.
    • They don't need to "go back to the drawing board"; the plan they've currently got is pretty much the best they're going to get, and in between gunfights, heartbreak and the general stresses they've been under over the last week, is it really any wonder they've just decided to get out of Dodge as quickly as possible?

  • 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 epitaph?
    • Word of God is that after Doc was killed by Tannen, 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.
    • Keep in mind in the timeline where Doc saves Clara we never saw what the ravine was called; Marty recalled the name from a different timeline (the one before all the movies happened). We only know it changes when Marty returns to his proper time.
    • Think of it this way: There were three 1885s:
      • The original timeline, with no Doc or Marty. Clara falls into the ravine and it's named after her. This is the timeline Marty and Doc are familiar with.
      • 1885 with Doc but without Marty. Doc gives Clara lift home from the station and she's never in any danger of falling into the ravine. We don't know what the ravine was called in the 20th century in this timeline, as we're only in it for the first few scenes of the third movie and there is no mention of the ravine in that time. Even if there were, Marty and Doc would still know it as Clayton Ravine, because from their perspective, it's only been a few hours since 1985 Doc went to 1885 to inadvertently rescue her. Presumably the name on the sign changed like the newspaper headlines at the end of BTTF2, but we never actually see that happen. We do see Doc's gravestone with the mention of "his beloved Clara", but that has nothing to do with what the ravine is called.
      • The timeline we see in the movie, with Marty and Doc both in 1885, where she almost falls into the ravine but Doc rescues her, and it ends up being called Eastwood Ravine.

  • 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, and have 1955 Doc and Marty fill it up?
    • Before sending Marty back to 1885 Doc specifically says "I put gas in the tank." The novelization makes it more explicit: Marty asks the exact question, but Doc said that he had drained the DeLorean to avoid corrosion of the gas tank before storing into the mine.
      • 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. Or powered the first iteration of his ice-cube maker.
      • Gasoline expires in 3-6 months, and Docís letter was sent 8 months after going to 1885. Even if Doc had saved it, he wouldn't have been able to use it.
    • Couldn't he just leave a note in it, or an an addendum to his letter, that says "Marty, put a can of extra gas in the trunk. Trust me on this. Thanks."?
      • How time travel seems to work in BTTF is the effects on the timeline don't occur until one goes back in time. Even if Doc did add an addendum, it would only lead to a Marty who travels to a different 1885, not 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.
      • You really don't need much to fix a hole in a watertight, non-pressurized vessel.
    • Another question is why 50s Doc didn't take precaution and voluntarily toss in a spare can of gas just in case. He gave Marty extra batteries for the walkie talkies, so it's not out of character.
      • Maybe he thought like Marty and assumed that the Mr. Fusion could be a power source?

  • 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.

  • Doc's chemical bundles cause the locomotive's boiler to explode, yet despite the engine not being under pressure it's still accelerating?
    • The boiler hadn't yet exploded. It was venting steam like crazy and there was a lot of smoke from the burning coal and bundles, but it was still functional

  • How did Doc build a Flux Capacitor with materials in 1885, and find a power source capable of 1.21 gigawatts of electricity, for his time train? Doc's in practically the same situation as when he first arrived: stuck in 1885 with the DeLorean's time circuits fried, yet he was unable to fix the DeLorean to return.
    • We don't know how a Flux Capacitor works; for all we know, it's actually really simple once you know how. A freeze frame on the time train shows a massive flux capacitor in front, so it might be that Doc could build one, but it'd be huge, and not fit into the DeLorean. Heck, maybe the original DeLorean only needed 1.21GW because of the shrunken parts, which take more energy.
    • Doc might also have simply not wanted to bother, to minimize time travel due to all the issues it caused.
    • The comics explain that Doc took apart the hoverboard and built a little time go-kart to go forward into the future and get the materials first.
    • There might have also been some leftover parts he took from the DeLorean after 1955 Doc repaired it.
    • Alternatively, Clara motivated him to continue trying. After all, simply having Marty there to bounce ideas off of had stimulated Doc's inventiveness repeatedly, despite Marty seldom having a clue what Doc was talking about.

  • Okay, so built a time train, in 1885, that runs on steam. 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.
    • Who said he had to have someone else do it? He can simply obtained the parts in 2015 and do it himself.
      • According to the comic book series, that's exactly what the Doc did.
    • Why would a businessman like Goldie Wilson III refuse to hover convert a train? He already converts old cars, so for all we know, the hover tech is modular enough to be retrofitted to anything sturdy enough to be lifted without falling apart. It might have been more expensive, but I bet he would have jumped at the chance to try.

  • Why was everyone yelling in that end scene?
    • The time-train was making a lot of noise. Plus, Doc and family were standing a good 3-4 feet above the ground.

  • 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 - Mary Steenburgen was only 34 when she made BTTF III.
    • 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.
    • Adoption is also a thing.
      • However, adopting children who would likely have been adopted by other people in the original timeline and thus would have lived radically different lives could mess history up drastically.
      • In the comic book series, Clara tells Doc she's pregnant. So they definitely did not adopt.
    • He went to a rejuvenation clinic in 2015 to restore his youth and add 30 years to his lifespan. That probably refreshed his reproductive organs, even if he didnít ask for that specifically.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • If time travel 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.
    • Word of God says that when Doc was sent back to 1885, the timeline changed around Marty and he wasn't affected because he was outside his time of origin, since he was in 1955 when he's from 1985.

  • 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.
    • It is also entirely possible that the local water supply is quite pure already. There's no real industry nearby that would potentially contaminate it, and given that it supports the town it is clearly healthy enough to drink.

  • The engineer 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?

  • By the end of the trilogy, 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 1955 graveyard and spied on Marty and 1955-Doc digging out the buried DeLorean? Would that version of Marty travel back to 1885?
    • Most likely the original events would play out until the moment Marty went back to 1885, after which the ripple effect would erase the tombstone from existence.
      • However in the new timeline, the effects of the trip to 1885 would already be present in 1955, so that would mean that there wouldn't have been a tombstone to find, since 1885 Doc never died in that timeline, unless after the events of the movie, Doc placed a fake tombstone to ensure that 1955 Marty would still go back in time to avoid a paradox.

  • 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.
    • Doc DIDN'T decide to stay and live in 1885. He planned to go back to 1985 with Marty, then at the last second he had to choose between that and rescuing Clara from the locomotive. He chose the latter, but it wasn't a matter of deciding to stay in 1885. What would you do if you saw your true love about to be run over by a train?
      • Technically, he was planning to take Clara back with them when he saw her on the train, but the boiler exploding prevented them from getting into the DeLorean in time.
      • Also, the hover board doesnít accelerate under its own power, so Doc couldnít have caught up to Marty, and rather than staying close to a train smashing into a barricade he decided to coast off to safety.

  • Why was it considered necessary to put the DeLorean in front of the train? 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.
    • 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.
    • Acquiring the locomotive was the last step of the setup, in order for it to pull the DeLorean, they'd need to spend time hooking it up.
    • 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?)
    • Funnily enough, pulling the DeLorean was exactly how the sequences with Michael J Fox were filmed, because there was a possibility that the train could have crushed the DeLorean and killed Fox if they did it how it is presented in the film.

  • 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, isn't entirely unreasonable). 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.

  • 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.
    • This is assuming Tannen would forget or forgive Doc. This is a guy who once shot a newspaper editor for printing an unfavorable story about him. 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.
    • Plus, given Doc turned out to be shot 2 days before he died, the duo took the right call of getting out of there as fast as possible.

  • Doc's tombstone says that he was shot in the back, but we see in the film Tannen was ready to shoot Doc in the head, so how did Doc's original murder play out exactly?
    • Shall we assume that if not for Doc's comment "Tannen, you're early!", Tannen would've shot him in the back without hesitation?

  • It seems a little odd that Marshall Strickland is portrayed as heroic and sympathetic while the Strickland of 1955 and 1985 is a jerkass. A running motif in the movies is that personalities carry throughout family trees: like father like son.
    • 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.
      • He seemed pretty jerkish though: At the beginning of the first film he doesn't just get on Marty's case for being late, or for hanging around Doc Brown, he outright mocks Marty for trying out as a musician and tells him he'll never amount to anything. That's not only cruel, it's wholly unnecessary from the standpoint of discipline. His treatment of George is hardly more defensible: he ignores the kids picking on George and instead berates the victim, also calling George a "slacker"—which doesn't even make much sense in that context.
      • Certainly 1955/85 Strickland was a jerk, but that is wholly plausible for a vice principal. They were bullies, and there was nothing unusual about them punishing the victim in a bullying situation. Likewise, his ancestor's behavior in 1885 is plausible for a no-nonsense lawman who just wants peace in his town.
    • The various members of the McFly family played by Michael J. Fox still have quite varied personalities (Marty is brave and hotheaded; Marty Jr. is a total wimp and pushover; Seamus is easygoing and avoids trouble), and one of the themes of the series is that people are not trapped by destiny.
    • Perhaps Marshall Strickland's son concluded from seeing his father's death (in a deleted scene) that his father's benevolence was a negative that ultimately got him killed, and ended up passing a harsher, more cynical attitude down to his own son who would grow up to be Principal Strickland, leading to the principal's jerkass ways.

  • Why was Clayton Ravine renamed Eastwood Ravine after the train fell there? Doc and Marty covered their faces with scarves when they robbed the train (if he had Doc likely would've been in legal trouble), and "Clint Eastwood" told everyone he was leaving town.
    • 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 have said that Marty stopped the train robbers and went down with the train.
      • But why would Doc need to spin a story that would only raise more questions when no such story was needed? If someone decided to check the train's crash site, he would find out there are no human remains there, and Doc would have to explain how "Eastwood" happened to be there to stop the robbers.
      • It's a way of making absolutely sure that no one asks any potentially awkward questions about what happened to "Eastwood", as well as enabling Doc to have one story and keep straight.
    • 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 I, 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?
    • 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 around 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. So why is it completely dark outside and apparently time for dinner as Seamus soon brings home supper?
    • The time machine wasn't working well to begin with, then it was lying buried for 70 years.
    • 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 Brown who got killed in the time and place that they know for certain their Emmett 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 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.
    • Also, depending on how far it has to travel, the Pine City stagecoach may already have departed on its journey by then. Most waystations along coaching routes wouldn't have had telegraph relays, so even if someone tried to report the imminent crime, it's unlikely that a warning could reach the coaching company in time.

  • 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.

  • 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 or towed it (via horses) in there, 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. So long as the wheels are concealed, it's unlikely anyone who did notice the DeLorean would even realize it's a vehicle. It's so different from anything familiar to the locals that they'd probably think it was yet another big bulky canister or water-tank that the blacksmith was tinkering with or repairing.

  • 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.
    • There's a lot of reported cases of dogs visiting their owner's grave in real life, commonly because it's the last place they detected their human by smell, even if this Doc's been buried for 70 years, Copernicus probably detected his scent.
    • Copernicus likely wasn't reacting with grief, he was reacting with confusion (which, for dramatic purposes, expressed itself as if it were doggy-grief). As noted above, he likely detected something like the scent of his human underneath / infusing the ground at that location, and was confused and upset because his human was also walking around with him right there, and he didn't understand how that could be or what was going on. Dogs have problems thinking fourth-dimensionally, after all.

  • Why couldn't Doc take Clara to show her the DeLorean to prove he isn't bluffing, and also have Marty back him up? I mean, come on! She believed the Doc after looking at a crude wooden model, so it's safe to assume she would definitely believe after seeing the actual thing.
    • 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. Also keep in mind that when he wasn't really planning to tell her; only after she kept prodding him did he finally blurt out the truth.

  • 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.

  • 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.
    • Plus, sometimes people who are distantly related at best bear a striking resemblance to each other, just due to coincidence.

  • In the big train finale, 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 didn't think of it, but even if he had, there are some other considerations with that plan: one, Doc has no experience with hoverboards, but he does have experience with clambering on ledges (clock tower in part I); two, the hoverboard might not even be able to go that fast - helmets are mandatory for motorcycles and they don't even usually reach 88, so hoverboards, with no safety gear, probably has some mechanism to prevent you reaching anywhere close to that speed (Doc and Clara never did catch back up to the train once Marty let go), which brings us to three, 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. However it appears, judging from the size of the roads and lack of a stop sign, Needles and Marty had the right of way. How, then, would the driver have been able to take significant legal action against Marty in the previous timeline as mentioned in II?
    • 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, and his only defense for his actions would have been "they called me chicken". 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.
    • It's also plausible the intersection was a bit of a blind spot, and when the Rolls Royce was driving out Marty was outside his field of view.
    • Plus Lorraine only said the Rolls Royce driver pressed charges, not necessarily that Marty was convicted on those charges or that it even went to trial.

  • The DeLorean's flying circuits are destroyed when it's struck by lightning. So does every thunderstorm in 2015 send cars falling from the sky? In fact, the DeLorean had a solid stainless steel body. For that precise reason it should have been protected from lightning strikes - aircraft are struck by lightning fairly regularly with no real damage due to the electricity flowing around the body and out the other side.
    • Presumably, cars that were actually designed to fly have protection against this. The DeLorean was modified to fly, which probably bypassed a number of safety precautions in modern cars. Think of airbags and anti-lock brake systems on cars these days, which are designed to crumple instead of plow through obstacles. It's similar.
      • Except there's a commercial for ground-car conversions in 2015, suggesting that many cars we see flying around are modified terrestrial vehicles, not originally built to fly.
      • The advert was from a rather shady businessman (in fact it's a spoof of Earl Scheib, a low-cost mechanic), so the hover conversion might've just been shoddy.
      • The conversion might be safe for normal cars but not one as ridiculously heavily altered as the DeLorean. Do remember one component was a rod specifically designed to channel a bolt of lightning into vital places in its structure.
    • Might also be that Doc bought a kit or something and did the conversion himself (see above headscratcher on how Doc hover-converted his time train).
    • Drivers could be willing to live with the (small) chance of encountering lightning. People drive ground cars during thunderstorms and blizzards and monsoons, after all. Plus, we know Doc survived his midair arrival in 1885, so perhaps flying cars have an emergency backup levitation system that brings them down safely if the flying circuits shut down.
    • It's also possible it wasn't just lightning, but also suddenly time traveling too that overstressed the circuits.

  • Doc shouldn't have been able to keep his time train a secret, not well enough for him to avoid accidentally changing the course of scientific progress? After all, he must get the materials from someone, and trains parts are heavy - he'd need someone to help him lift and move them.
    • Well, it is the Wild West, there was probably plenty of room for Doc to park his train in some cave somewhere without a nosy person barging in.
    • He might've needed others to help put them together, sure, but nobody in 1885 is going to have any idea what time circuits are yet. Once the time stuff is set up, he and Clara (and their kids) actually jump to 2015 secretly, or at least more secretly than in the actual development, so no one in 1885 ever finds out what they were building; upon arrival there, they get the standard hover-conversion applied to the train.
    • The comics mention Doc first built a smaller version in a go-kart to go to the future and grab the materials he needed. It's likely he also grabbed some future tools that helped.

  • "Clint Eastwood" was killed defending a locomotive. Couldn't this have caused massive repercussions for the career of the actor? Marty was unknowingly risking massive consequences for the space-time continuum by using that alias.
    • It could, but it didn't. But given it took place at a tiny town though, real Clint Eastwood probably didn't even hear of it. At most it's probably just seen as an amusing coincidence.

  • How the heck does the railroad crossing gate know to come down when the only train that's coming is coming from god-knows-when?
    • If part I (when Doc backs the DeLorean out of the truck) indicates Doc has a flair for presentation, so it may very well be that he set it up beforehand.
    • Some Fridge Brilliance: Before the DeLorean arrives sonic booms could be heard, likely the air being displaced to make way. It likely tripped off the sensor.

  • How come we don't see cops all over the railroad tracks at the end of the movie? The engineer whose train ran over the DeLorean would've surely radioed in about the collision, so there ought to have been an immediate police response to determine if anyone had died. Heck, he didn't even stop?
    • It probably stopped a bit further up the track. It's a pretty big freight train going at full speed through a traffic interchange towards a bridge, after all; it takes some time to safely come to a full stop. Alternatively, maybe the engineer's just an unethical jerk; after all, people are supposed to stop at the scene of an accident but since it's not a binding physical law of the universe that they do, plenty of people just drive off anyway.
    • When we see Marty and Jennifer at the crash site in the final scenes, it's clearly some time later (Marty's been doing a bit of running around checking on his family and Jennifer). Presumably by the point they return to the crash site, the authorities have arrived, have already investigated the scene and ascertained that no one died, and have moved on to other matters.

  • Related: one would think that eventually someone would come by to see if there were any bodies in the rubble and clean up. Does it stand to reason that someone may have found, say, the Mr. Fusion device, and reverse-engineered it to become the "new" creator of the Mr. Fusion? Kind of like what happened in Terminator or Star Trek IV.
    • What are the odds that the person who did knows what to do with such an elaborate kind of mechanism chancing to come across the rubble before it was cleared? Best guess is that it'll be a policeman, a paramedic, or some guy in a dump truck to clean up the debris. The pieces might not even be in any condition to help them.
    • Also, the Delorean and everything connected to it has just gone head-to-head with a 200+ ton freight train locomotive and however many cars it was carrying behind it. The chances of anything remotely recognisable or usable of Mr Fusion (or anything else, for that matter) surviving that collision is roughly zero.

  • So the "old" McFlys are George's ancestors, and unless we admit a massive Squick moment, we are assuming that George and Lorraine are not related in any way, shape, or form...so why does George's ancestor look exactly like his wife? ** shivers**
    • Word of God is that McFly men are just predisposed to be attracted to women that look like Lea Thompson.
    • Hill Valley is a small town, most people in small towns are more or less related in some way. Maggie Mcfly could be a distant cousin of Lorraine or at some point the family branches split and the Baines (or whoever are Lorraine's family by her mother's side) have one common ancestor with the Mcflys, is still long enough (Seamus and Maggie are described as great-great grandparents of Marty, that's a lot of generations) to not be squicky.

  • Why does 1955 Doc have such a colossal freak-out at the end of II / beginning of III upon seeing Marty again right after sending the past Marty back to 1985? He knows all about the time machine by this point, so why would seeing another future version of Marty cause him to go into shock, pass out, and then act in denial of Marty's existence until he shows him the letter from his future self?
    • He had just spent a whole week wrapped up in that scheme, only for it to come to naught (as far as he can see) the very moment it had succeeded. Anyone would be tempted to be in denial after that. Besides, Doc is an excitable fellow.
    • In addition to the above, Doc's probably scared that the whole timeline is collapsing around him. Send a guy into the future and suddenly he's standing right next to you? Something weird is going on...potentially something bad...

  • When Doc is drunk in 1885 and talking about automobiles or "horseless carriage" to the other patrons, they express pure disbelief and act like he's crazy. But would people from 1885 really react this way? They know locomotives are a thing, it's not much of a stretch to imagine one that can work without a track. Heck, in 1885 people like Karl Benz were already designing and tinkering with the first production cars. This is like someone from 2095 going back in time to 1995 and heralding the invention of...the DVD. Most people would say "yeah I could see VHS tapes becoming obsolete soon," not "oh you crazy mad scientist and your wacky impossible ideas!"
    • Just because some people were designing and tinkering with prototypes doesn't mean a buncha cowboys out on the frontier are going to know anything about it. Plus, the VHS to DVD comparison is actually flawed, since technology progressed much faster during our time than it has in previous eras of history.
    • The patrons seemed to be more in amusement than disbelief. In fact the laughing only really started when Doc's commented that people in the future 'run for fun'.

  • We know that the DeLorean becomes very cold immediately after traveling through time, and vacuum tubes need to be warm to operate properly. Doc built the time circuit control tubes right on the hood of the car, and specifically said they were "warmed up" before sending Marty off. Shouldn't the tubes have shattered from the rapid temperature change immediately after Marty went back to 1885, especially with all the vibration from the off-road conditions at high speeds?
    • It seems the only bits that get cold are the stainless steel shell of the DeLorean (having to do with the stainless steel helping the flux dispersal or whatever) and NOT the various electronic bits or other automobile parts. 1985 Doc probably knew this and figured the vacuum tubes would be safe. (I'd also wager that his 1955 counterpart packed the trunk with extra tubes and parts just in case.)
    • Since time travel is precisely what is involved, there's no reason to assume the temperature change happens "instantaneously" even though it appears that way to the driver. Maybe, from the tubes' frame of reference, Marty (or whoever is driving) moves extremely slowly "during" the trip (which, after all, does last a hundred years, in a way).
    • Things shatter from rapid temperature changes because different parts of the object are at different temperatures at the same time, causing a bunch of stress. If time travel instead takes all the energy instantly so the object was isothermal throughout, this presumably wouldn't happen.

  • 1985 Doc holds Albert Einstein in high enough esteem to name his dog after him. However, as Doc is reading his letter he says something like "Please take care of Einstein for me." (pause) "Einstein?" Then Marty tells him its what he calls his dog in 1985. Doc gives this look that suggests he thinks it is a silly name. Why would 1955 Doc's opinion of Albert Einstein be so low?
    • The interpretation was that Doc thought his future self used the time machine to bring the actual Albert Einstein to 1985. Naturally he would be rather surprised at that. Hell, if you want to get into WMG territory, the 1955 section takes place in November, Einstein died in April of that same year. For those few seconds, Doc is probably thinking, "He didn't die, I brought him to the future!"
    • Alternatively Doc was chuckling at the notion that some things never change and he was still naming his dogs after scientific figures, or he was expressing dismay that he hadn't come up with a more creative naming scheme.
    • It's a bit of Future Me Scares Me-related Hypocritical Humor; the joke is that 1955 Doc thinks that Einstein is a bit of a silly name for a dog, but will obviously go on to change his mind by the time he's 1985 Doc.

  • Buford was arrested because of Marty, because he showed up in town to Marty who walloped him into the manure. This risked a major paradox, because what if the subsequent jail time prevented him from having children and therefore the existence of Biff?
    • Well, when Marty gets back to 1985, Biff clearly still exists.
    • One could easily posit that robbing the Pine City Stage didn't carry so long a jail sentence that he couldn't make a kid or two later on. After all, he was only in his mid-30s.
    • Buford was specifically said to be arrested for robbing the Pine City Stage, which is presumably something he did in the original timeline where Marty wasnít present, so Marty had no impact on Buford being arrested.

  • Regarding the deleted scene where Buford kills Marshall Strickland, Buford only ran into Strickland and killed him when he was on his way to his duel with Marty. In the original timeline where Marty wasn't present, there doesn't seem to be a reason why Buford would have been riding down that path and running into Strickland at that time. So did Marty's time travel indirectly get Marshall Strickland killed much earlier than he would have died in the original timeline? Shouldn't the premature death of one of the head lawmen in a frontier town have had significant effects that would have altered the future?
    • Could be that Strickland got killed by some other outlaw a few days later in the original timeline, making his death slightly early but not significantly-so.

  • Continuing the above, whether it's canon or not, why did Tannen ever think it'd be a good idea to murder Marshal Strickland in the first place? Killing a lawman would certainly qualify him for a hanging, and Buford does the deed right in front of Strickland's son.
    • Buford Tannen is clearly demonstrated throughout the film to be brutish, unintelligent, impulsive and quick to violence. He simply didn't stop to consider the consequences.

  • During the climax on the train, why doesn't Clara just throw a log to get Doc's attention? Failing that - say they're too heavy, perhaps - she could take off one of her shoes and throw that instead.
    • Steam trains are loud and fast. There is no way she could throw something in a way that it wouldn't end up falling back past her, or smacking her in the face, as soon as she let go. And it wouldn't make enough noise to be heard over the train just through crashing into the ground. Pulling the whistle was the only way.

  • At the end of the movie, how is there no one around at the train crossing when a flying locomotive appears in broad daylight?
    • It seems to be towards the end of the day, presumably it's a time when the crossing is not especially busy.
    • It's also on a Sunday so it's probably not very busy anyway.

  • All throughout the series Doc is really adamant about not changing anything in the past lest the future becomes jeopardized, he insists on this so much that Marty himself eventually grows paranoid enough about it that he is the one who talks Doc out of his plan to stay behind with Clara, so why do neither of them seem to realize that Clara's very existence is one of these changes? To their knowledge Clara should have died by falling into the ravine the day she arrived at Hill Valley, by saving her they have massively altered the course of events and allowing her to remain in 1885 unchecked could have had serious ramifications in the future; Doc should have surmised that there was no option but to take Clara with them to avoid this long before she decided to believe him.
    • Doc does realise this: there's a fairly lengthy sequence after they rescue her when they realise that the ravine was named after a teacher who fell in and put two-and-two together. Marty brushes it off because he's a kid who has problems thinking fourth-dimensionally, but Doc is clearly troubled by the implications ("I wish I'd never invented that infernal time machine; it's caused nothing but disaster."). The thing is, he also begins to get sweet on her, which in turn makes the "Hey, I have to kidnap you to prevent any drastic changes to the timeline" conversation he also might have to have with her a lot more awkward.
    • It's also implied that, just as Doc wasn't shot on the day he was recorded as having died but a few days before, Clara didn't actually plunge into the ravine on that day but actually threw herself in a few days later out of grief over Doc's death. Doc and Marty think they've changed history at that point, but don't actually change it until Marty saves Doc at the dance.

  • Was the Marshall Strickland's son Principal Strickland's grandfather or great-grandfather?
    • According to the video game, the Marshall was the Principalís grandfather, which presumably would make his son the Principalís father.

  • How exactly did Marty get so good at riding a horse during his brief time in 1885? There is nothing in Marty's background to indicate he would even be interested in horseback riding let alone be so good at it. The same could be said for Doc but at least Doc was in 1885 for eight months before Marty got there so he had time to practice. Marty seems to be a natural at it...and it isn't just run of the mill riding either. We see Marty jump on a moving train while on horseback and he also seems to be in complete control of the horse while galloping at full speed when he was helping Doc save Clara from going over the ravine. Riding a horse is not as easy as it looks and there is no way Marty was a first time rider based on the skills we see displayed on screen.

  • If you recall in the scene where Doc is talking about recreational running in the future, one of the old timers is puzzled about "running for fun." Hasn't recreational running existed since ancient Greece? Why would that be so foreign to people in 1885?
    • A bunch of Old West saloon patrons probably arenít the most knowledgeable about Ancient Greece.
    • They're not really puzzled, they're laughing incredulously / derisively. They're a bunch of lazy old barflies who live in a world where the only real reason you might have to run anywhere is if someone with a gun is chasing after you. The idea that people would just run around for no other reason than they enjoy it just amuses them with its ridiculousness.

  • The saloon old timers talk about how cowardly Clint Eastwood would be for not wanting to square off with Tannen. How much do you want to bet that if these old timers came face to face with that opportunity that they themselves would bail out?
    • Marty is considerably younger and more able-bodied than them, so they wouldnít be able to fight Buford fairly.

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