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- "This [hopping from foot to foot] wasn't going to work. Marty had to do something besides hopping, or, sooner or later, one of those bullets was going to hit one of his feet. He had to get out of here somehow. He needed some kind of diversion. / Maybe, Marty thought, if he changed his style of dancing— / He stopped hopping and started to moonwalk. / 'Billie Jean is not my lover—' he whispered as he moved. Hey, he hadn't watched all those Michael Jackson videos for nothing! And it worked, at least for a minute. These cowboys had never seen somebody walk backwards on his toes. They had stopped shooting, and were watching him, open-mouthed. "
- —From Back to the Future Part III by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, pages 69 and 70)
In 1885, Marty McFly began to hum the tune and dance as he was being shot at by Buford Tannen. Marty moonwalked around the Palace Saloon, as Buford looked on stunned. Marty then jumped on a loose plank which rested underneath a spitoon, sending it through the air before it landed on Buford's head. Buford then tried to kill Marty, but his gun was out of bullets. When Marty attempted to run, Buford and his gang chased him around the town. When the gang caught him with a rope, they dragged him to the Courthouse Square where he was nearly hanged.