Z. The Gunfighters

Season Three - 1965/1966

Story Editor: Gerry Davis
Writer: Donald Cotton
Director: Rex Tucker
Produced by: Innes Lloyd
Designer: Barry Newbery
Incidental Music: Tristram Carey
The Ballad Of The Last Chance Saloon: Performed by Tom McCall, sung by Lynda Baron


Three Clanton brothers ride up to the O.K. Corral in Tombstone to meet Seth 'Snake Eyes' Harper in the Last Chance Saloon bar. As they go to find the bar the TARDIS materialises close by. The Doctor is suffering from toothache, and needs to find a dentist. Steven and Dodo are excited to be in the Wild West, but the Doctor realises he has little chance of finding a dentist.

Whilst the Doctor nurses a sore tooth Steven and Dodo get into the spirit buy changing into cowboy outfits, and even giving the Doctor a black hat. As they are fooling about they are shot at by the Marshall of Tombstone - Wyatt Earp. Earp takes them to the Sheriff's Office.

In the Last Chance Saloon the Clantons are talking to Harper about wanting to kill Doc Holliday after Holliday killed their brother Reuben. No-one knows what Holliday looks like, but Harper tells them that Holliday has a drink and gambling problem, and that if they wait at the bar he will show up eventually. Kate Fisher, a barmaid at the bar, leaves to warn Holliday, her fiance, about the Clantons. She finds him setting up a dental practice on the main street.

When the Doctor meets the sheriff - Bat Masterson - he introduces himself, Steven and Dodo as a performing troupe, and Masterson advises them to keep travelling and to leave Tombstone. The Doctor says he is looking for a dentist, and Masterson directs him to Holliday's dental practice. When the Doctor sees Holliday's practice he says his toothache is much better, but Steven pushes him inside and leaves with Dodo to book a hotel room.

In the surgery Holliday sits the Doctor down and immediately prepares to pull out the tooth. The Doctor asks about anaesthetic, and Holliday says he can knock him on the head if he wants. At least the treatment is free as he is the first customer.

In the Last Chance Saloon Steven books three rooms. The bar keepers offers Steven and Dodo a job performing which they decline. Steven and Dodo upstairs and asks the bar keeper to give the third key to the Doctor. The Clantons, still at the bar, think she is talking about Doc Holliday. Thinking that they are backup for Holliday Phineas Clanton goes upstairs to fetch Steven and Dodo.

Harper leaves the bar to look for Holliday, and finds the Doctor outside the dental practice. When he answers to 'Doc' Harper invites him back to the bar. Hollidays hears this, and seizing his chance he offers a spare gunbelt and holster to the Doctor so he can dress properly.

Fisher returns to the bar where Steven and Dodo are being made to sing and play the piano by the Clantons. As she is the proper singer at the bar she tells Dodo to stop playing and Steven to take over whilst she sings. Dodo takes the opportunity to go back to her room. Moments later the Doctor enters the bar where he meets Harper and the Clanton brothers.

The Doctor realises that the Clanton's think that he is Doc Holliday, but when he says he isn't Harper points out that he found the Doctor at the dentist's, and that his gun has Holliday's brand on them. Fisher plays along and tells the Doctor to admit he is Holliday, and that he could easily take all four of them. To stir things up Holliuday, hiding upstairs, fires a shot at Harper, making it look like the Doctor fired it. Fisher reveals she also has a gun. With the Clantons surrendering Steven gets their guns.

Hearing gun shots Earp and Masterson arrive and find the Clantons being held up against the piano. Masterson arrests the Doctor, making the Clanton's think he is Holliday when he knows who Hoilliday really is. Back at the dental practice Earp meets Holliday, who is looking for a drink. Earp tells Holliday that he can keep the Doctor locked up overnight, and that Holliday should take the opportunity to leave town. Earp tells Holliday that he should leave to avoid the trouble that is brewing. The Clanton's are planning to take over tombstone, and that he can't do anything until his own brothers arrive.

In the bar the Clantons tell Steven to take a gun over to the jailhouse and give it to the Doctor so he can break out, afterwhich the Clantons will take over. Realising he has little choice Steven does as they ask. Phineas follows Steven to make sure he does as he is told. Outside the jail Steven hands the gun to the Doctor, and tells him to bluff his way out so that he, Steven and Dodo can make their way back to the TARDIS and away from the Clantons who still believe the Doctor is Doc Holliday. Instead the Doctor hands the gun to Earp, saying he ids safer where he is.

Back at the bar Billy Clanton is getting together a small mob to go over to the jail to get the Doctor. When Steven returns to the bar he is held as a hostage to ensure the Doctor does break out of jail. From upstairs Holliday, Fisher and Dodo see the mob leaving. Dodo is concerned about Steven, Holiday seems more upset that the mob has got hold of his dentists chair.

Holliday goes down to the bar where Harper is still drinking. Before he can fire Holliday shoots him. He tells Fisher to saddle up three horses for himself, herself and Dodo. As Holliday leaves from the front of the bar the mob make it to the jail and demand that the Doctor is given to them or Steven will swing in his place. Whilst Masterson keeos them talking Earp tries to work his way behind them. Earp is able to get to Steven in time, and as the mob is told to go home the bar keeper arrives to tell the Clantons that Harper has been killed by the real Holliday.

With the Doctor freed he and Steven go back to the bar where the bar keeper tells them that Dodo has already checked out with Holliday once all the fuss started. Holliday doesn't go far from Tombstone, telling Fisher he will be going back to help Earp when the real trouble starts, and Dodo is also naturally eager to return.

Things start to settle down in Tombstone when Johnny Ringo appears, looking to settle a score with Holliday. The bar keeper tells Ringo that the Clantons are looking to hire him to help them go against Earp and Holliday. To stop the bar keeper from telling anyone he is in town Ringo shoots him, before finding himself a room for the night. The next morning the Doctor and Steven find the body of the bar keeper, and also Johnny Ringo. When the Doctor tells Ringo that they want to get Dodo away from Holliday Ringo tells Steven to ride out withi him to where he thinks Holliday is hiding.

Left alone the Doctor goes back to the jail where Masterston and Earp are trying to get hold of some of the Earp brothers. The Doctor tells Earp and Masterson about Ringo, and the death of the bar keeper, leaving Warren Earp in charge. Soon afterwards Ike and Billy Clanton arrive to break Phineas out of jail, killing Earp's kid brother Warren in the process. When Earp returns and finds his brother he tells his other brother, Virgil, to take a message to the Clantons telling him to meet at the O.K. Corral.

In the next town Ringo sends Steven over to the saloon bar to look for Holliday whilst he talks to Fisher who he sees walking down the street. When she tells Ringo that Holliday has run out on her and gone to New Mexico Ringo orders her to return with him and Steven bavck to the Clanton's ranch. At the ranch Virgil delivers Wyatt's message to meet them at the O.K. Corral at dawn where the two families can sort out their differences.

Steven is being held at gunpoint at the ranch, but Dodo returns to Tombstone with Holliday who will team up with Earp to fight the Clantons and Ringo. With Earp determined to fight Masterson asks the Doctor, wearing a Sheriff's badge, to go and talk to the Clantons, where he might also be able to help Steven. The Doctor arrives at the ranch after the Clantons have left, leaving Pa Earp looking after Fisher and Steven. Clanton thinks they have the upper hand with Ringo when the Doctor tells him that Holliday is waiting for them as well.

As shooting starts in the street Holliday and Ringo meet in a side street. Dodo tries to warn Holliday but is captured by Ringo. She manages to break free and Holliday shoots Ringo. With Holliday helping the Clantons are outgunned, and the Earps are victorious.

Regular Cast

  • Steven Taylor: Peter Purves
  • Dodo Chaplet: Jackie Lane

Guest Cast

  • Ike Clanton: William Hurndell
  • Phineas Clanton: Maurice Good
  • Billy Clanton: David Cole
  • Kate Fisher: Sheena Marshe
  • Wyatt Earp: John Alderson
  • Doc Holliday: Anthony Jacobs
  • Bat Masterson: Richard Beale
  • Charlie: David Graham (1-3)
  • Seth Harper: Shane Rimmer (1-2)
  • Pa Clanton: Reed de Rouen (3-4)
  • Johnny Ringo: Laurence Payne (3-4)
  • Warren Earp: Martyn Huntley (3-4)
  • Virgil Earp: Victor Carin (4)
  • Savage: John Raven (4)
  • Walk Ons: Mark Allington, Anthony Billing, John Caeser, Derek Chafer, Edward Chookon, Reg Cranfield, Roy Curtis, John de Marco, John Doye, Jackie Ho, Jonas Kurchi, Maureen Lee, Kevin Leslie, Maureen Nelson, Edwina Salmon, Leslie Shannon, Bill Smith, Vilma Shuttle, Jane Young, Marguerite Young

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 115. A Holiday For The Doctor Saturday, April 30, 1966 5:50 PM - 6:15 PM 6.5M 45%
BBC 1 116. Don't Shoot The Pianist Saturday, May 7, 1966 5:50 PM - 6:15 PM 6.6M 39%
BBC 1 117. Johnny Ringo Saturday, May 14, 1966 5:50 PM - 6:15 PM 6.2M 36%
BBC 1 118. The OK Corral Saturday, May 21, 1966 5:50 PM - 6:15 PM 5.7M 30%


  • Ealing Television Film Studios
  • Riverside Studio 1

Outside Locations

  • Virgina Water, Surrey

Working Titles

The Gunslingers


This is the last story to have individual episode titles.

The end of part four says that the next episode is "Doctor Who and the Savages", which is incorrect; this is the last regular use of the next episode caption.