The episode begins with a shot from under a wagon of a traditional western set-up: dusty road, saloon entrance, rocks. And there are horses! Actual real-life horses being ridden by three dudes, one of whom shoots a sign with his real-life cowboy gun. One of the other dudes tells him off, saying he should 'save his bullets for Holliday,' so maybe the title is a clever wordplay! That'd be nice.
The three of them are speaking in absolutely atrocious southern American accents, and I think they're brothers. The youngest (who shot the sign) is Billy, the middle one is Phineas and the oldest one (who told Billy off) is Ike. They used to have another brother called Reuben, but this Holliday guy shot him? I think. They're all on their way to meet a guy called Seth.
PHINEAS: Where do we all meet up with Seth?
IKE: The Last Chance Saloon.
BILLY: Why do we need Seth Harper?
PHINEAS: Oh, Pa’s paying him, and Pa wants us to work along with him.
BILLY: Mate you're quite obviously a middle-class English dude, I don't know who you're even trying to fool.
The three of them go inside the saloon, and the TARDIS appears inside a barn on the other side of the square. Remember how at the end of last episode, the Doctor ate a toffee that Dodo got from one of the baddies of the episode, and then he doubled over in pain and it was all very dramatic? Yeah, basically all that happened is he got a toothache, and they don't have any painkillers. They landed because the Doctor says they need to find a dentist because he'll definitely have to have the tooth extracted! What a drama queen, jeez.
While the Doctor is sitting on a nearby barrel whinging about how much pain he's in, Steven and Dodo realise that they're in the good ol' Wild West and get, like, weirdly excited about it. They both ignore the Doctor entirely and run back into the TARDIS so they can find clothes that'll help them blend in cos they want to EXPLORE. They come back out again, really pleased with themselves (Dodo puts a cowboy hat on the Doctor's head), looking like a pantomime version of Woody and Jessie from Toy Story.
While Steven and Dodo are dicking about with cowboy stuff, another terribly-accented local appears! He seems fairly displeased that these English weirdos are hanging out in his barn, and brandishes his big old cowboy gun at them. His name is Wyatt Earp and Dodo is really pleased to meet him - I just Googled his name and he's a real person that really existed, so that's why she was so happy. I swear, I haven't known about most of these big historical figures/events in Old Who so far. I feel like an uneducated loser but at least I'm learning, right?
Back in the saloon, Billy, Ike and Phineas meet up with Seth, who is another cowboy, but seems friendlier than the three brothers. The four of them are planning to kill this Holliday dude, and also getting steadily more drunk. The bar's singer, Kate, overhears their conversation and sidles out the door to find Doc Holiday, who has set up a dentistal surgery nearby? She tells him that there are four dudes in the saloon who are planning to kill him. He is displeased.
DOC HOLLIDAY: Who are these men anyway?
KATE: Well there's a guy called Seth Harper, then there's three brothers by the name of Clanton.
DOC HOLLIDAY: Clanton?! You kill a guy out of sheer professional ethics, and then you've got three of his brothers chasin' after you. That makes me real angry!
'Professional ethics'? I don't know about you, but my psycho bells are ringing here. While Kate and Doc Holliday are arguing, ANOTHER cowboy, whose name is Masterson, walks up to them. Oh, and he's the Sheriff! He's basically there to warn Doc Holliday off from shooting people. Holliday promises to be good and walks away holding hands with Kate.
Man, all these characters are getting confusing so here's a cowboy round-up so far:
- Doc Holliday - ex-shooty cowboy. Killed a guy called Reuben and is now into dentistry
- Masterson - Sheriff
- Ike, Phineas and Billy Clanton - shooty cowboys and brothers of Reuben, want to kill Doc Holliday
- Seth Harper - plotting to kill Doc Holliday with the Clantons
- Wyatt Earp - taking the Doctor, Steven and Dodo to the Sheriff's office, object of Dodo's fangirl affections
- Kate - bar singer and girlfriend of Doc Holliday
- Steven, Dodo and the Doctor - definitely not cowboys
Speaking of Steven, Dodo and the Doctor, they enter stage right and the Doctor happily introduces them as a band of travelling musicians (there's a point where he says '... and I'm the Doctor,' and Masterson says 'Doctor Who?' like urgh what did I JUST SAY IN THE INTRO TO THIS VERY POST). The Sheriff then essentially tells them to piss right off because there's no room for happiness and music in Tombstone, Arizona, and the Doctor tells him that it's all cool! They're not actually here to perform, he's just here for - gasp! - a dentist!
So, in a wonderfully-executed turn of events, Steven and Dodo go to find a hotel and the Doctor heads towards the surgery of the dude who is a target for a big old cowboy assassination. The logic of going to a dentist in 1881 rather than getting back in the TARDIS until they landed in a place with more advanced medical technology is a little lost on me, but there it is.
So the Doctor rocks into the dentist's and walks in on Doc Holliday and Kate doing some pretty serious kissing. Doc Holliday jumps up, threatens the Doctor with a gun and demands to know what he wants; the Doctor timidly says that he has a toothache, but he should probably leave, actually. BUT NO Doc Holliday and Kate happily usher him into the dental chair and tell him that (a) he's their first ever customer, (b) that Kate can't stay and watch because she faints at the sight of blood, (c) they have no idea what anaesthetic is but Doc Holliday will hit the Doctor over the head with his gun if it'll help ease the pain and also (d) Doc Holliday takes a big old swig of booze before he operates. And the Doctor still just sits there and opens his mouth. Wow. Although to be fair he doesn't seem overly pleased about it.
Back in the Last Chance Saloon, the three brothers are getting a bit stir-crazy. Billy (little brother) shoots a bottle behind the bar, possibly because Billy is a bit of a knob. Right after that, Steven and Dodo walk in, continuing the theme of the TARDIS gang being really dumb about putting themselves in dangerous situations because they would have definitely heard that gunshot. They book the rooms they want for the night (even though the TARDIS is literally round the corner and there are definitely beds?) and in doing so have to sign a register with their names and occupations - when the barman notices that they're apparently musicians, he offers them a job! They turn it down, thankfully, and head off upstairs to their rooms.
Buuuuut the Clanton brothers and their mate Seth overheard the conversation and assume that Steven and Dodo are in league with Doc Holliday - partially because Steven is apparently carrying six guns as part of his cowboy outfit, the massive dork, but also because they mention 'the Doctor' and 2+2=5. So, Phineas goes upstairs to fetch Steven down again, and Seth heads out to bring Doc Holliday to the saloon.
Seth's never actually seen Doc Holliday before, so when he gets to the dental surgery and sees the Doctor in the room alone, post-extraction, he assumes he's found his guy.
DOCTOR: Yes, what? What is it?
DOCTOR: Holiday? I suppose so. Yes, you could call it that.
Brilliant. Seth casually invites the 'Doc' over to the saloon and then swaggers out again; the real Doc Holliday, who has been listening, swans back in and encourages the Doctor to head over there right away! First, though, he should take a GUN with him. Just to be safe. Kate straps a gun belt on him and Doc Holliday lends him a gun, absolutely coincidentally with DOC HOLLIDAY engraved on the side. The Doctor, oblivious as always, happily takes it, thanks both of them and heads out the door to go to the saloon. I don't know what he's expecting to happen.
Meanwhile, Steven and Dodo have been brought downstairs again and are being heavily encouraged to sing. And by 'heavily encouraged' I mean, like, threatened with guns. And, to be fair, Dodo sits down and plays the piano like a PRO while Steven sings 'The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon' - he somehow knows the tune already. The three brothers all sit around them with their guns still pointing at them so they just have to keep going - I'm not entirely sure if they understand that the Doctor is about to walk in and get shot, but even if they did, there isn't that much they can do about it.
And that's the end! I gotta admit - I wasn't expecting to enjoy this one very much, but it's okay so far! I do love a good case of mistaken identity, and it's written quite well here. See you soon for part two!