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According to Memory Alpha's In Universe Timeline, the story sequence is:
Elaan of Troyius : Spectre of the Gun : I, Mudd.
In the Remastered Episodes Chronology, the release sequence is
The Cloud Minders : Spectre of the Gun : The Empath.

Summary

As the Enterprise's mission is to establish contact with the Melkotians at any rate, Kirk chooses to ignore one of their warning buoys. When Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott and Chekov arrive on the planet, the Melkotians have set up an old Western town for them, where they are meant to die. It soon becomes obvious that the five are supposed to take part in a re-enactment of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881 in the roles of the Clanton Gang, who would lose the fight. Chekov, however, is killed by Morgan Earp before the big shooting.

Since the tranquilizer that Spock and McCoy have prepared for the Earps does not work, Spock concludes that the whole scenario is just an illusion. With a Vulcan mind-meld he prepares his fellow crew members for the gunfight, telling them that the bullets are not real. They survive, and find Chekov alive back on the ship's bridge. The Melkotians, who now have proof of the Federation's peaceful intentions, agree to send a delegation.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. Shortly after arriving in the saloon, Morgan Earp confronts Kirk. Spock carefully explains to the captain that he should sit back down and not move a muscle - especially in his hands. The Vulcan states that doing so would initiate a most unfortunate series of events. What does Kirk do? He flexes his hands before sitting down! To be fair, he has to use some of his muscles in order to sit down!

Changed Premesis

  1. ln “Friday’s Child," Kirk tells the Capellans that if they want to be left alone, the Federation will leave them alone. Why, then, has Starfleet given Kirk orders to contact the Melkotians? The Melkotian homeworld may be located in a very strategic position.

Equipment Oddities

  1. Kirk has a little trouble with his communicator at the beginning of this episode. Just after beaming down to the planet, the captain pulls out the communicator, it flops shut, and then he has to flip it open again. Probably a loose hinge on the antenna grid.
  2. At the end of this episode, the Melkotian buoy begins emitting radiation. In response, Kirk orders a standby on the “phaser guns." Phaser guns? (I suppose this is technically correct, but he's never called them this before.) He has just returned from a simulated version of the OK Corral, and is still in the mindset of someone who lived in the Wild West.

Internet Movie Database

Character error

  1. The gunfight at the O K Corral has many inaccuracies, but that's because the Melkotian created the town based on Captain Kirk's imperfect subconscious knowledge of history. The gunfight actually ensued at 3:00 p.m., not 5:00 p.m. Virgil Earp was the town marshal of Tombstone at the time of the Gunfight at the O K Corral, not Wyatt Earp. Morgan Earp was Virgil's deputy, and Wyatt and Doc Holliday were deputized the day of the gunfight. Their original intent was to disarm the Clantons and McLaureys. Doc Holliday did not practice dentistry in Tombstone. Kirk is not a professional historian.

Nit Central

  1. D.K. Henderson on Saturday, November 28, 1998 - 5:50 am: On the planet, they discover that the tricorder and the communicators aren't working. Spock then comments that "all" their equipment is nonfunctional. Yet, when the Melkot appears and threatens them, Kirk whips out his phaser. Isn't it reasonable to suppose that it, too, would not work? Perhaps Kirk just wants to have the comfort of holding the phaser.
  2. Padawan Nitpicker on Saturday, September 30, 2000 - 4:57 am: Why is the Enterprise heading towards the planet in the final shot? Chris Todaro on Saturday, September 30, 2000 - 6:55 am: The Enterprise is heading towards the planet in the final shot because they were never really there for the whole episode. It was all a telepathic illusion.

Notes

  1. See The Original Series category entry for details


The Original Series Season 3
Spectre of the Gun I Elaan of Troyius I The Paradise Syndrome I The Enterprise Incident I And the Children Shall Lead I Spock's Brain I Is There in Truth No Beauty? I The Empath I The Tholian Web I For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky I Day of the Dove I Plato's Stepchildren I Wink of an Eye I That Which Survives I Let That Be Your Last Battlefield I Whom Gods Destroy I The Mark of Gideon I The Lights of Zetar I The Cloud Minders I The Way to Eden I Requiem for Methuselah I The Savage Curtain I All Our Yesterdays I Turnabout Intruder
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