In the Back to the Future trilogy, Marty writes a letter to Doc to warn him about his impending demise. We learn at the end of the first film that:

Doc, after tearing up the letter, changed his mind and pieced it back together.

Nevertheless, at the end of the second film and at the beginning of the third film, Marty comes to Doc right after Doc sent the other Marty to the future, causing Doc to faint.

Marty then takes Doc back to his place, and no mention of the letter is made.

In the third film, we see Marty and Doc in 1955 helping Marty go to 1885, and at no point do they talk about the letter, which has by now probably been scattered, swept off the streets by the wind, etc.

Therefore, "Future Doc" (now living in 1885) should be dead by the time Marty arrives in 1885, since interrupting Doc made him unable to change his mind about the letter, and Marty didn't either warn him about the terrorists.

The timeline in which Doc pieced the letter back together, then went to 2015, then went to 1955, then went to 1885 by accident just cannot happen from what I understand.

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    What's really going to cook your noodle, is whether or not the Doc is already wearing one at approximately 30 minutes into the movie. No exit wounds, no blood. – Mazura Oct 4 '15 at 23:18
  • Yeah, that's pretty crazy! I'd say maybe they just shot it once otherwise there would have been continuity problems such as he wouldn't have acted the two takes the same way, but it's true that within the film's context it's pretty nuts to realize this! Thanks! – MicroMachine Oct 5 '15 at 4:32

When Marty re-visits the Doc in 1955, he doesn't spend much time there before going to 1885. All versions of 'the Doc' have approximately 30 years to piece together the letter that he had ripped up and put into his coat pocket.

If 'Future Doc' never put it back together, he'd be dead. The logic must follow that he did, and he always does, in any timeline in which he uses pinball machine parts to make a bomb and is still alive, come 1986.

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    Yes, I think fabrice d may have missed the fact (noticeable if you watch the scene closely) that he put the torn pieces of letter in his coat pocket rather than throwing on the ground, since the original question says that the letter "has by now probably been scattered, swept off the streets by the wind, etc." – Hypnosifl Oct 4 '15 at 22:41

The answer posted by Mazura is spot on. He had to have put the letter back together, or his story would stop in 1985. He also had 30 years of normal linear living to do it in, it's not like he had to have his change of heart that night.

I would like to add a bit of speculation however.

Doc's entire line of reasoning for taking the hard-line against changing his own future was that he feared the consequences of changing anything. He didn't know what would happen with a paradox, whether he'd be erased like Marty or whether he'd break something larger and potentially more world shattering.

What Doc doesn't get until later is, they have already done that. As in your other question, Marty's fathers history doesn't exactly line up with the original timeline anymore, but Marty is doing just fine. The timeline was close enough to work out. The natural conclusion from that is, if Marty could do it, why couldn't Doc? Marty thought this was important enough to change, and if he can get things close enough...

That he still stood in front of a hail of bullets shows just how committed he was to avoid changing anything else. One stray and he still would have been gone.

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