Star Trek (1966–1969): Season 1, Episode 28 - The City on the Edge of Forever - full transcript

When an accident causes Dr. McCoy to go temporarily insane, he escapes to a strange planet. There, the search party discovers a device left by a superior, vanished civilization, a time portal that plays the history of Earth for them - but then Bones jumps through it into the past, causing a change in history important enough to make the Enterprise vanish. Kirk and Spock, who fortunately made a tricorder recording, must attempt to go through to just before McCoy's arrival and stop him from changing history in the United States during the Great Depression, where they have no advanced technology available.

Stay on top
of it, Mr. Sulu.

We're holding
orbit, sir.

The helm
is sluggish.

Control circuits threatening
to overload, captain.


Mr. Spock.

Can't avoid
these areas of turbulence?

I believe we'll
have them plotted

in a few more
orbits, captain.

Sickbay, to Bridge.

Switching to manual, captain.

Do we maintain
this orbit?


This is of great scientific
importance, captain.

We're actually passing
through ripples in time.

Maintain orbit.
Aye, there.

Open a channel
to Starfleet Command.

Yes, sir.

Precautionary measure,

Broadcast to
Starfleet Command

my past week's
log entries,

starting with
the unusual readings

we had on
the instruments

and how they
led us here.

Inform Starfleet Command
that apparently...

something or someone
down on this planet..


..can affect
changes in time,

causing turbulent waves
of space displacement.

Some heart flutter.

I'd better risk
a few drops of cordrazine.

It's tricky stuff.

Are you sure you wanna risk..?

You were about to make
a medical comment, Jim?

Who, me, doctor?

We're guiding
around most of

the time ripples
now, captain.

Good. Mr. Spock?

All plotted but one, captain.
Coming up on it now.

Seems to be fairly
heavy displacement.


Back to
your positions.

The hypo,

It was set
for cordrazine.


emergency medical team.


Killers! Assassins!

I won't let you!
I'll kill you first.

I won't let you.

You won't get me.



Security alert.

Space, the final frontier.

These are the voyages
of the starship Enterprise.

Its five-year mission:

To explore strange new worlds,

to seek out new life
and new civilizations,

to boldly go where no man
has gone before.

Captain's log, supplemental entry.

Two drops of cordrazine
can save a man's life.

A hundred times that amount

has just accidentally been
pumped into Dr. McCoy's body,

and in a strange wild frenzy,

he has fled the ship's Bridge.

All connecting decks
have been placed on alert.

We have no way of knowing
if the madness is permanent

or temporary,
or in what direction

it will drive McCoy.

Continue alert.

Decks 4 through 11.

Medical department knows
as little as we do.

In dosages
approaching this,

there's some record
of wild paranoia.

Confirmed by the library
record tapes, captain.

Subjects failed to
recognize acquaintances,

became hysterically

that they were
in mortal danger,

and were seeking escape
at any cost.

Extremely dangerous
to himself

or to anyone else
who might..

Bridge, Security. Alert, alert.

Bridge here. Go ahead.

Security 054, sir.

We just found

the transporter
chief injured.


Dr. McCoy has beamed
himself down to the planet.

And the transporter
at that time, captain,

was focused on the center
of the time disturbance.

So whatever's down there...

McCoy is in the heart of it.

Set up a landing party.
Let's go get him.

Kirk out.

These ruins extend
to the horizon.

Begin recording.


And of considerable age.

On the order of
10,000 centuries old.

Detail. Fan out.

What is this thing,
Mr. Spock?

It seems to be pulsating
with power of some kind.

Analysis, please.


That's funny.

This single object
is the source

of all the time


I can't.

For this to do what it does
is impossible

by any science
I understand.

It is operating
even now...

putting out
waves and waves

of time displacement,

which we picked up
millions of miles away.

Landing party to Enterprise.
No sign of Dr. McCoy.

Search progressing.

Incredible power.

It can't be a machine
as we understand mechanics.

Then what is it?

A question.

Since before your sun
burned hot in space,

and before your race was born,

I have awaited...a question.

What are you?

I am the Guardian of Forever.

Are you...

machine or being?

I am both and neither.

I am my own beginning,
my own ending.

I see no reason for answers
to be couched in riddles.

I answer as simply

as your level of understanding
makes possible.

A time portal, captain.

A gateway to other times
and dimensions,

if I'm correct.

As correct as possible
for you.

Your science knowledge
is obviously primitive.


Annoyed, Spock?


A gateway to your own past,
if you wish.


Killers! I won't
let you get me.

I'll kill you first!

I won't let you get..




If that is a doorway
back through time,

could we...

take Bones

back a day
in time then?

Relive the accident.

This time be certain that
the hypo accident is avoided.

Look at the speed with which

the centuries
are passing, captain.

To step through on precisely
the day we wish...


Can you change
the speed

at which
yesterday passes?

I was made to offer
the past in this manner.

I cannot change.

Strangely compelling,
isn't it?

To step through there...

and lose oneself
in another world.

I am a fool.

Our tricorder
is capable

of recording
even at this speed.

I've missed taping centuries
of living history,

which no man
before has ever..

Dr. McCoy!

Bones, no!

Where is he?

He has passed into...

what was.


I've lost contact
with the ship.

I was talking
to them, and...

it went dead.

No static.

Kirk to Enterprise.


Nothing wrong with
the communicator, sir.

Your vessel...your beginning.

All that you knew...

is gone.


has somehow changed history.

You mean we're stranded
down here?

With no past.

No future.


I'm frightened.

Earth's not there.

At least not the Earth
we know.

We're totally alone.

Captain's log, no stardate.

For us, time does not exist.

McCoy, back somewhere
in the past,

has effected a change
in the course of time.

All Earth history
has been changed.

There is no starship

We have only one chance.

We have asked the Guardian

to show us
Earth's history again.

Spock and I will go back
into time ourselves

and attempt to set right
whatever it was

that McCoy changed.

I was recording images
at the time McCoy left.

A rather barbaric period
in your American history.

I believe
I can approximate

just when to jump.

Perhaps within a month
of the correct time.

A week, if we're fortunate.

Make sure we arrive
before McCoy got there.

It's vital
we stop him...

before he does
whatever it was

that changed
all history.


if we are successful..

Then you will be returned.

It will be as though
none of you had gone.


it seems impossible.

Even if you're able
to find the right date...

Then even finding McCoy
would be a miracle.

There is no alternative.


when you think you've
waited long enough...

each of you
will have to try it.

Even if you fail...

at least you'll be alive

in some past world somewhere.


Seconds now, sir.
Stand by.

Good luck, gentlemen.

Happiness at least, sir.



I've seen old photographs
of this period.

An economic upheaval
had occurred.

It was called Depression,
circa 1930.

Quite barbaric.

We seem to be costumed

a little out of step
with the time.

I'm afraid I am going
to be difficult

to explain in any case,

Well, Mr. Spock, uh,
if we can't disguise you,

we'll find some way of...

explaining you.

That should
prove interesting.

Let's get out
of here.


Look out, will you?

Why don't you watch
where you're going?

Theft, captain?

Well, we'll...

from the rich

and give back
to the poor...


I think I'm gonna
like this century.

Simple, easier to manage.

We're not gonna have
any difficulty explaining..


You're a police officer.

I, uh, recognize

the traditional

You were saying
you'll have

no trouble
explaining it.

My friend is
obviously Chinese.

I see you've
noticed the ears.

They're actually
easy to explain.

Perhaps the unfortunate
accident I had as a child.

The unfortunate accident
he had as a child.

He caught his head
in a mechanical...

rice picker.

But, fortunately,

there was
an American...missionary

living close by
who was actually

a, uh, skilled, uh,

plastic surgeon
in civilian life.

All right. All right.

Drop those
bundles and

put your hands
on that wall there.

Come on!

Oh, how careless
of your wife

to let you
go out that way.

Oh, yes. it's quite untidy.

Here. Let me
help you.

You were
actually enjoying

my predicament
back there.

At times, you seem
quite human.

Captain, I hardly
believe that insults

are within your prerogative
as my commanding officer.


Time we faced
the unpleasant facts.

First, I believe
we have

about a week
before McCoy arrives.

But we can't
be certain.

Arrives where?

Honolulu, Boise,
San Diego?

Why not Outer Mongolia,
for that matter?

There is a theory.

There could be
some logic

to the belief
that time is fluid,

like a river
with currents,

eddies, backwash.

And the same currents
that swept McCoy

to a certain
time and place

might sweep us
there too.

Unless that is true,
captain, we have no hope.


Locked in here is the exact
place and moment

of his arrival.

Even the images
of what he did.

If only I could tie
this tricorder

in with
the ship's computers

for just a few moments.

Couldn't you build some form
of computer aid here?

In this zinc-plated,
vacuum-tubed culture?

Yes, well, it would pose

an extremely complex

in logic, Mr. Spock.

Excuse me.

I sometimes expect
too much of you.

Who's there?

Excuse us, miss.

We didn't mean
to trespass.

It's cold outside.

A lie is a very poor way
to say hello.

It isn't that cold.


We were being chased
by a policeman.


These clothes.

We stole them.

We didn't have any money.

Well, um...

I could do with some
help around here.

Uh, doing dishes, sweeping,
general cleaning.

At what rate of payment?

I need radio tubes
and so forth. My hobby.

Fifteen cents an hour for ten hours a day.

What are your names?

Mine's Jim Kirk.
His is...


I'm Edith Keeler.

Well, you can start
by cleaning up down here.

Excuse me, miss.

Where are we?

You're in
the 21st Street Mission.

Do you run this place?

Indeed I do,
Mr. Kirk.

Radio tubes...

and so on.

I approve of hobbies,
Mr. Spock.

Good evening.

You'll be sorry.


You expect to eat
for free or something?

You gotta listen...

to goody two-shoes.

And now, as I'm sure that
somebody out there has said,

it's time to pay
for the soup.

Not that she's
a bad-looking broad,

but, uh...

if she really
wanted to

help out a fella
in need..

Shut up.

Shut up.

I wanna hear
what she has to say.

Yes, of course,

Now, let's start by getting one thing straight.

I'm not a do-gooder.

If you're a bum, if you can't
break off with the booze

or whatever it is
that makes you a bad risk,

then get out.

Now I don't pretend to tell you
how to find happiness and love,

when every day is just
a struggle to survive...

but I do insist
that you do survive.

Because the days
and the years ahead

are worth
living for.

One day soon...

man is going to be able to


incredible energies.

Maybe even
the atom.

Energies that could

hurl us
to other worlds

in.. In some sort
of spaceship.

And the men that
reach out into space...

will be able
to find ways

to feed the hungry
millions of the world

and to cure
their diseases.

They will be able to find
a way to give each man hope...

and a common future.

And those are the days
worth living for.

Our deserts
will bloom...

Development of atomic power
is years away.

Space flight,
years after that.

Speculation. Gifted insight.

But it will come.

I...find her most uncommon,

Mr. Spock.

Prepare for tomorrow. Get ready.

Don't give up.

Mr. Kirk.

You are uncommon

That basement looks like it's
been scrubbed and polished.

Then we can report back
for other work?

Oh, yes. Seven o'clock
in the morning.

Do you have a flop
for the night?

A what?

You really are new at this,
aren't you?

A flop is a place to sleep.


Well, there's a vacant room

at the place where I live
for $2 a week.

If you want to,
I'll take you there.

Thank you.

We have a flop.

We have a what,

A place to sleep.

One might have said so
in the first place.

Captain, I must have
some platinum.

Small block
would be sufficient,

5 or 6 pounds.

By passing certain circuits
through there

to be used as
a duo-dynetic field core..

Uh, Mr. Spock, I've,
uh, brought you

some assorted vegetables,

bologna and a hard roll
for myself.

And I've spent
the other nine-tenths

of our combined salaries
for the last three days

on filling
this order for you.

Mr. Spock, this bag does
not contain platinum,

silver or gold,

nor is it likely to
in the near future.


you're asking me
to work with equipment

which is hardly very far ahead
of stone knives and bearskins.

McCoy will be along
in a few days.

Perhaps sooner.

There's no guarantee
that these...currents

in time will
bring us together.

This has to work.


Captain, in three weeks,
at this rate,

possibly a month...

I might reach the first
mnemonic memory circuits.

Your cap.

If you can leave
right away,

I can get you
five hours work

at 22 cents an hour.

What..? What on earth
is that?

I am endeavoring,

to construct
a mnemonic memory circuit

using, uh, stone knives
and bearskins.


Tools. For
finely detailed work.

That toolbox was locked
with a combination lock,

and you opened it
like a real pro.

Why did you do it?

I needed the fine tools
for my radio work.

They'd have been returned
in the morning.

No, I'm sorry.
I can't..

If Mr. Spock says
that he needs the tools,

and that they'd be
returned tomorrow morning...

you can...

bet your reputation
on that...

Miss Keeler.

On one condition.

Walk me home?

I still have
a few questions

I'd like to ask
about you two.

Oh. And don't give me that


You know as well as I do

how out of place
you two are around here.


Where would you estimate
we belong, Miss Keeler?


At his side. As if you've
always been there

and always will.

And you...

You belong...

in another place.

I don't know where or...


I'll figure it out

I'll finish with the furnace.


Even when he doesn't
say it, he does.

♪ Good night, sweetheart ♪

♪ Though I'm not beside you ♪

♪ Good night, sweetheart ♪

♪ Still my love
Will guide you ♪

♪ Dream... ♪

Why does Spock
call you captain?

Were you in
the war together?


served together.

And you, um...

don't want to
talk about it?


Uh, did you.. Did you
do something wrong?

Are you afraid
of something?

Whatever it is,
let me help.

"Let me help."

A hundred years or so
from now, I believe,

a famous novelist
will write

a classic using
that theme.

He'll recommend
those three words

even over
"I love you."

Centuries from now?

Who-who is he? Where does
he come from? Um..

Where will he come from?

Silly question. Wanna
hear a silly answer?


A planet...

circling that
far left star

in Orion's belt.


How are the stone knives
and bearskins?

I may have found
our focal point in time.

I think you may
also find you have a...

...connection burning someplace.

Yes, I'm overloading
those lines.

I believe we'll have
our answer on this screen.


And, captain...

you may find this
a bit distressing.

All right. Let's see
what you have.

I've slowed down
the recording

we made from
the time vortex. Mm-hm.

February 23, 1936.

Six years from now.

"The president and...

Edith Keeler...

for some time today.."

How bad?

Bad enough.

The president...

and Edith Keeler...

It would seem
unlikely, Jim.

Few moments ago, I read
a 1930 newspaper article.

We know her future.

Within six years from now,

she'll become
very important,

nationally famous.

Or, captain...

Edith Keeler
will die...

this year.

I saw her obituary.

Some sort of
traffic accident.

You must be mistaken.

They both can't be true.

Captain, Edith Keeler
is the focal point

in time we've been
looking for.

The point in time
that both we

and Dr. McCoy
have been drawn to.

She has two possible
futures then.

And depending on whether
she lives or dies...

all of history will be changed.

And McCoy...

Is the random element.

In his condition,
what does he do?

Does he kill her?

Or perhaps he prevents her
from being killed.

We don't know which.

Get this thing fixed.

We must find out
before McCoy arrives.


suppose we discover...

that in order to set
things straight again,

Edith Keeler must die?





You! What planet is this?

No. Don't run!

I won't kill you!

It's they who do
the killing!

Don't run!
I won't kill you!

Oh. Why?

What is so funny about
man reaching for the moon?

How do you know?

I just know,
that's all.

I-I feel it.

And more...

I think that
one day they're going

to take
all the money that

they spend now
on war and death..

And make them
spend it on life.


You see the same
things that I do.

We speak
the same language.

The very same.

No! Oh!

I'm glad
you got away too.

Yeah. I-I..

Why do you think
they wanna kill us?

Look...fella, y..

Y.. You take a..
A sip too much

of that old wood alky,

a-an.. And almost anything
seems like it.. It..


Where are we?


Constellations seem right, but...


Explain this trick.




Good cranial

No doubt, considerable
human ancestry.

Is that how you're able
to fake all of this?

Very good.

Modern museum

Right down to
the cement beams.

Very, very good.

Oh, I'd give a lot
to see the hospital.


needles and...


All the pain.

Used to had to
cut and sew people

like garments.

Needles and sutures.

Oh. The terrible

How long before
we get a full answer?

I'll need at least two more days

before I dare
make another attempt.

McCoy could have been
in the city

a week now, for all we know.

And whatever he does
that affects her...

changes history,

could happen tonight,
tomorrow morning.


our last bit of information
was obtained

at the expense of
30 hours' work

in fused and burned circuits.

I must know...

whether she lives
or dies, Spock.

I must know what to do.

Extra! Extra! Get your morning paper!

Get your paper!
Read all about it!

Oh, miss.

That coffee, it just
smells wonderful.

You look terrible.

You better
sit down. Come on.

I can't. I gotta
keep moving.

I can't let 'em find me.

Oh. There's a cot
in the backroom.

Look, they won't
find you there. Come on.

This is how history went
after McCoy changed it.


in the late 1930s,
a growing pacifist movement

whose influence delayed
the United States' entry

into the Second World War.

While peace negotiations
dragged on,

Germany had time
to complete

its heavy-water


Fascism. Hitler.


Sieg Heil!

Won the
Second World War.

Because all this
lets them develop

the A-bomb first.

There's no mistake, captain.
Let me run it again.

"Edith Keeler. Founder
of the peace movement."

But she was right.

Peace was the way.

She was right.
But at the wrong time.

With the A-bomb...

and with their V-2 rockets
to carry them...

Germany captured the world.


And all this because
McCoy came back...

and somehow kept her from
dying in a street accident...

as she was meant to.

We must stop him, Jim.

How did she die?

What day?

We can estimate
general happenings

from these images...

but I can't trace down
precise actions

at exact moments,

I'm sorry.


I believe...

I'm in love with
Edith Keeler.

Edith Keeler...

must die.

Hey, now, come on.

You're not ready to take on
any tigers just yet.

Lie down.

The most common question
to ask would be,

"Where am I?"

I don't think I'll ask it.

Why not?

The only possible answer
would conclusively prove

that I'm...

either unconscious
or demented.

This looks like old Earth
around 1920 or '25.

Would you care
to try for '30?

I am unconscious or demented.

I have a friend
that talks about Earth

the same way that you do.

Would you like to meet him?

I'm a surgeon...

not a psychiatrist.

I am Leonard McCoy...

senior medical officer
aboard the USS Enterprise.

I don't mean to disbelieve you,

but...that's hardly
a Navy uniform.

That's quite all right.
That's quite all right, dear.

Because I don't believe
in you either.

Get some rest.


Are you
following me, sir?

With ulterior

Would that
please you?

I hope
it means what..


I've been up and down
those stairs a thousand times.

I could have broken my neck.


I did not plan
to eavesdrop.

No, of course
you didn't.

I must point out

when she stumbled...

she might have
died right there

had you not
caught her.

It's not yet time.
McCoy isn't here.

We're not that sure
of our facts.

Who's to say when
the exact time will come?

Save her.

Do as your heart
tells you to do.

And millions will die
who did not die before.

Come in.

Well. You look
just fine, doctor.

Thank you.

I thought you, um,

might like to see
the evening paper.

No, not particularly.

I've convinced myself
that this is all

in a cordrazine

But I've decided you're not.

Oh, that's reassuring.

But if you're not...

what are you?

A friend.

When you
showed up here,

you looked like
you could use one.

No, I don't doubt it.

What about
this place, uh...

you run it?

I try to.


It's necessary.

Well, it was for me,
at least.

You may have saved my life.

Lots of people drink
from the wrong bottle sometimes.

Not as wrong as the bottle
I drank from.

Allow me to show my gratitude.

Perhaps there's something
I can do around here

to...thank you.


We can talk about that later.

I have to go.

My young man is taking me

to a Clark Gable movie.

A who movie?

A Clark Gab..

Don't you know?

Well, I know what
a movie is, but..

Oh. That's very strange.

You get some rest.
I'll see you later.

Oh, if we hurry, maybe we can

catch the Clark Gable movie
at the Orpheum.

I'd just love to see it.

You know, Dr. McCoy
said the same..


Leonard McCoy?

Yes. He's in
the mission. He's..

Stay right here.


Stay right


What is it?
McCoy. He's in..



No, Jim!


You deliberately
stopped me, Jim.

I could have
saved her.

Do you know
what you just did?

He knows, doctor.

He knows.

What happened, sir?
You only left a moment ago.

We were

Time has resumed its shape.

All is as it
was before.

Many such journeys
are possible.

Let me be
your gateway.

Captain, the Enterprise
is up there.

They're asking
if we wanna beam up.

Let's get the hell out of here.