Star Trek has always been fixated on the dignified ethos of exploration and an ideal advancement of the human condition. However, an occasional break is needed from all of that high-mindedness. Thus, Starfleet’s finest are often put into bizarre, sometimes undignified scenarios that tend to ring familiar to the audience. However, what better way can a stressed starship crew unwind than by solving rootin' tootin' interplanetary mysteries sipping whisky and sarsaparilla while embarrassing an aggressive extraterrestrial yellow-belly in a Western scenario?
Therefore, with director Antoine Fuqua’s ambitious, superbly cast-stacked reimagining of the Kurosawa-influenced 1960 Western ensemble classic The Magnificent Seven hitting theaters this weekend and September being Star Trek Month here at Blastr, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the handful of Western-themed Star Trek episodes.
Interestingly, the themes are not all that dissimilar; Gene Roddenberry originally envisioned Star Trek with the Western-themed title Wagon Train to the Stars. Yet, surprisingly enough, across the 50-year Star Trek franchise’s five existing television iterations (six, counting The Animated Series) and thirteen films, the once-ubiquitous Western genre has only been given proper tribute with three episodes, thankfully all classics.