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DVD Review: Trek Stars Go West

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Written by Pirata Hermosa

Before the famous crew of the Starship Enterprise boldly went where no one had gone before, they went to Hollywood and acted in various television shows and films waiting for that one big break. In this two-disc DVD set we find Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. McCoy (Deforest Kelley) and Scotty (James Doohan) exploring the frontier of the wild west in a variety of different roles.

Tate – “Comanche Scalps”: One episode of the short-lived series about a one-armed gunslinger who helps a friend home after he finally took vengeance on the man who killed his brother. The only problem is that while he was away from home, his younger brother marries his girlfriend. So he must return home to kill his own brother. Leonard Nimoy plays a Comanche indian who shows up to threaten the men and attack their farm. He is only in it for a minute or two.

Bonanza – “The Ape”: One of the worst episodes of this series ever to be made about a big ugly strong and unintelligent man who gets angry when people tease him. Leonard Nimoy plays a card shark that makes fun of him and helps the local saloon girl swindle him for money. Once again, Nimoy is only in the episode for a few minutes.

Outlaws -“Starfall Part I & II”: It’s a two-part episode about a group of men who were pushed into becoming outlaws after their side lost in the war. Their leader is one of their former commanders, Wayne (Shatner). It’s now several years later and the government is offering amnesty to anyone who is willing to sign papers agreeing to settle down and become honest men. The only problem is that the townsfolk don’t want them around and the richest man in town plans to have them all killed one way or another. This is by far the best show on this DVD set. Shatner is great in his role and there’s enough action to keep you on the edge of your seat to see what’s finally going to happen.

The Lone Ranger – “The Legion of Old Timers”: The only show featuring DeForest Kelley as a man who just inherited the family ranch and finds himself being swindled out of the property by a new foreman who beats him, locks him in a room, and forces him to sell the ranch. While this episode is obviously targeted at a younger audience, it’s a little silly and a little fun as the Lone Ranger and Tonto must gather up the old ranch hands to retake the ranch.

The Last of the Mohicans – “The Way Station”: James Doohan plays a bloodthirsty indian, Tonkawa, who tries to kill one of his tribesman in order to blame it on Hawkeye and start a war with the settlers. It’s another fun episode worth watching. There is also a brief clip from the previous week’s episode with Doohan playing an angry villager.

Outlaws – “Shorty”: Another solid episode from this series about a hotheaded gunman who decides to build a fence around his farm blocking the right of way of his neighbor. When the Marshall steps in and makes him take down his fence, Shorty kills his neighbor and then hires an assassin (Nimoy) to kill the only witness. Again Nimoy makes just a brief appearance in the episode.

White Comanche is a full-length motion picture that William Shatner shot during the original run of the Star Trek series. In the film he plays two brothers that are half-blooded Comanche Indians. One brother, Notah, has convinced his tribe that he will lead them to victory over the white man while the other, Johnny Moon, travels from town to town fending off bounty hunters who think he is the White Comanche. Eventually Johnny gets fed up with his brother’s ways and challenges him to a fight to the death. After watching the rest of the selections on the DVD and contrasting them against this movie it’s really not that bad. It’s a little dull, but it doesn’t having any glaring issues that would make it unwatchable.

For any Star Trek fan this is a nice addition to your collection. It would have been better if more of the selections contained bigger roles. About half of them don’t contain any substantial amount of camera time for the future stars. Even so, it’s still an interesting group of westerns that gives you a smattering of what was on television and a look at some of the actors’ first roles.

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