Thursday, 19 May 2011

25: The Gunfighters - The Ballad Of The Last Chance Saloon.

Written by: Donald Cotton.
Companions: The Doctor, Steven Taylor, Dodo Chaplet.
Monsters/Villains: Johnny Ringo.
Brief Synopsis: Arriving in Tombstone, Arizona in 1881, the Doctor and his companions get caught up in the infamous gunfight at the O.K Corral.
Rating: 7/10.

Hello faithful blog-o-teers! I really quite enjoyed The Gunfighters and I thought what better way to express my feelings for it than through the medium of song. I herby present for your reading pleasure:

The Ballad of The Last Chance Saloon

We start off our story,
The Doctor, he got an ache.
His tooth is a hurting,
It's a pain he can't take.
The Tardis, it's arrived,
Where? I'll tell ya soon.
In Tombstone, Arizona,
At the Last Chance Saloon.

Steven and Dodo,
Wearing Cowboy clothes and hats,
The Doctor dons a Stetson,
Matt Smith just did that.
The crew meet some locals,
What a happy fortune.
Doc Holliday's the Dentist,
Near The Last Chance Saloon.

With no anesthetic,
Holliday takes the tooth.
A rap on the head or whisky,
That won't help! It's the truth!
It's Miss Dodo Dupont,
And Steven Regret,
It's Doctor Caligari,
They're the best names they can get.
The Doctor gets mistaken,
For Doc Holliday.
Then the Clanton Brothers gang,
Make Steven and Dodo sing and play.
Guess which song they choose?
You'll recognise this tune,
It's maybe getting old now.
Yes, The Last Chance Saloon.

To break up the hubbub,
In comes Wyatt Earp,
He arrests the Doctor,
The authority, he'll usurp.
The Clantons form a Lynch Mob.
Doc Holliday is their prey.
For killing their brother,
They sure will make him pay.
They're about to hang Steven,
He's going to his doom.
This is really meant for kids?
Yes! The Last Chance Saloon.

Johnny Ringo he's in Tombstone,
He too's after the Doc.
He murders poor Charlie,
The last tick of his clock.
The Clanton's come to rescue,
Their poor brother from the jail.
They kill Warren Earp,
Then they all turn tail.
Earps: Wyatt and Virgil,
'll send the Clantons to their Tomb.
They'll all have their shootout,
At The Last Chance Saloon.

Holliday joins the Earps,
The Clantons they get Ringo.
Thanks to Dodo's intervention
Holliday kills him dead as a dingo.
Then bang, bang, bang,
Three dead Clantons at high noon.
Once more, where did it go down?
Duh! The Last Chance Saloon!

Back in the Tardis,
A new planet or a city?
The Doctor knows where they are:
"An age of peace and prosperity!"
They've gone to the future.
But what an afternoon!
Neither of us will soon forget,
The Last Chance Saloon!

I really couldn't agree more that this story is unfairly judged. I'm not hugely into Western stuff, but I still really enjoyed this one. Like a lot of early Who it's oddly violent in places. The Doctor certainly challenges Wyatt Earp's necessity for violence when it comes to law enforcement, but doesn't do a huge amount to stop it. The Sheriff asks the Doctor to go and speak to the Clantons and persuade them not to fight and to promise them a fair trial for killing Warren Earp. They refuse and the Doctor can do nothing but let history play out and see Ringo and the Clantons get killed. I can't help but feel like this isn't a battle of good triumphing over evil but merely rough justice. All of my problems in that vaine can be solved with the simple solution that they are attempting to show how things really were in the wild west in the 1880's.

After the TARDIS departs at the end of the story the Doctor gives a fairly bold statement, "I know where we are: The future. An age of peace and prosperity." Ironically the next story is titled The Savages.


Corby Kennard said...

It wasn't bad, but the music got to me. Even my 4-year old, who watched this one with me, started making faces when the singing started.

Steve said...

Despite the singing, it's really enjoyable.  Maybe because it gives a chance to enjoy the 1st Doctor in a story that doesn't drag.  Also, the story tries hard to have fun.  Just look at Steven's costume!  And Dodo seems to be enjoying herself.  And yet, the plot is serious.  Probably it's better this story survived and The Celestial Toymaker didn't.