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The Gunfighters was a novelisation of the 1966 television serial The Gunfighters.

Publisher's summary[]

Back in the gun-totin', hard-hittin', fast-shootin' days of the Old Wild West, when outlaws ruled the land and the good guys stayed off the streets, a troupe of travelling players - Miss Dodo Dupont, Steven Regret and the mysterious Doctor Caligari - moseyed into the town of Tombstone one October afternoon.

Their method of transportation was a mite peculiar though. After all, a police box materialising out of thin air sure ain't the usual way to enter a sedate town like Tombstone...

And when the Doctor and his pardners meet up with Wyatt Earp and the notorious Clanton brothers, they soon find out that the scene is all set for high noon at the O.K. Corral...

Chapter titles[]

  • Prologue
  1. Landfall in Tombstone
  2. The Last Chance
  3. The Brief Career of Dead-shot Steve
  4. A Funeral is Arranged
  5. Notice to Quit
  6. Identity Parade
  7. Open Mouth Surgery
  8. An Offer Refused
  9. A Pardonable Error
  10. A Little Night Music
  11. And Some Durn Tootin'
  12. Arrest Is As Good As A Change
  13. The Red Hand of Tradition
  14. The Law and Doc Holliday
  15. A Very Nasty Little Incident
  16. Wyatt Plays It By The Book
  17. Pa Clanton Keeps a Welcome
  18. Ringo in the Morning
  19. Post Mortem
  20. Thought For Feud
  21. Dodo Draws a Bead
  22. The Entry of the Gladiators
  23. Come Sun-Up ...
  • Epilogue

Deviations from televised story[]

  • Part of the novel is told in first person, from the perspective of Ned Buntline hearing an account of the story from Doc Holliday some years afterwards on his deathbed. The book includes a prologue and epilogue not connected to the televised story.
  • The story begins with a scene inside the TARDIS.
  • When the TARDIS arrives in Tombstone, it is raining.
  • Cotton's novelisation makes use of coarse language and innuendo not present in the original serial (and rare for a Target novelisation). For example, when the Doctor arrives at Doc Holliday's office, he accidentally walks in on Holliday in bed with his receptionist, in reality Kate (p. 44). In the televised version, she is merely sitting in his lap.
  • The Doctor does not recognise Johnny Ringo and he is initially recruited to take part in the gunfight. Therein the Doctor is depicted learning how to shoot a shotgun. At the outset of the gunfight he accidentally shoots two onlookers to death!
  • Ringo is killed when he goes to Holliday's room and attempts to shoot him in the back only for Holliday to see him in a mirror Dodo is holding up. Ike Clanton survives the gunfight, being taken prisoner by Steven and Kate as he is about to shoot the Doctor. Pa Clanton is present for the gunfight but takes no part in it.
  • The character Kate Fisher is renamed Kate Elder in the novel.
  • Much back story and character traits is added. Reuben Clanton, specified as the eldest brother, was killed by Holliday for cheating at cards and Holliday proposed to Kate after she set fire to the tavern to stop Reuben's friends killing him. Ringo spends much of his earnings as a hired gun on classic works and delights in conversing with the Doctor in Latin phrases, while Phineas repeatedly tries to come up with colourful similes. Pa Clanton is campaigning to be mayor, with most of the onlookers at the gunfight being his supporters.
  • The Clanton brothers attempt to destroy the TARDIS with dynamite to teach Earp a lesson.
  • Eddie Foy is mentioned.

Writing and publishing notes[]

  • Dedication: For TAMSIN, with coloured moon clouds
  • The back cover includes colour details of Fantastic Doctor Who Poster Offer!
  • The book switches between third and first person narration; supposedly told from Doc Holliday's point of view, the gunfighter is nonetheless referred to in third person, except on page 73 when it suddenly switches to first person (although the first person in question is Ned Buntline).
  • The original Target Books edition features the artwork of Andrew Skilleter.

Additional cover images[]

British publication history[]

First publication:

  • Hardback
W.H.Allen & Co. Ltd. UK
  • Paperback


This Target Book was released as an audiobook on 7 February 2013 complete and unabridged by BBC Audio and read by Shane Rimmer.

The cover blurb and thumbnail illustrations were retained in the accompanying booklet with sleevenotes by David J. Howe. Music and sound effects by Simon Power.

External links[]

to be added