For $1,000, Dr. Avatar hires Paladin to help him prove a theory about habitual murderers. His subject is someone who would rather stay dead and the doctor is willing to accommodate him.



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Episode cast overview:
Dr. Leopold Avatar
Jake Trueblood
Iphigenie Castiglioni ...
Olive Carey ...
Rick Silver ...
Enoch Harrison
Dale Ishimoto ...
Kam Tong ...


For $1,000, Dr. Avatar hires Paladin to help him prove a theory about habitual murderers. His subject is someone who would rather stay dead and the doctor is willing to accommodate him.

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Plot Keywords:

title based on the bible | See All (1) »







Release Date:

20 January 1962 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Curiously Roy Barcroft who played Jake Trueblood in this Have Gun, Will Travel episode of "The Mark of Cain", also played Roy in another episode called "The Mark of Cain" on Gunsmoke 7 years later in 1969. See more »


Dr. Avatar: Then perhaps you know what these are?
Paladin: Yes. They are used to measure what Lombroso has termed the stigmata of degeneracy - certain cranial abnormalities, a low sensitivity to pain, primitive instincts found in cannibals, cave dwellers, apes, animals and habitual murderers - in short, the mark of Cain.
Dr. Avatar: And that is why I have come back to America.
Paladin: Oh. A shortage of murderers in Europe this year?
Dr. Avatar: There's never a shortage of wife killers - murders of passion, momentary rage, that sort of thing. My ...
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User Reviews

Criminal Intent?
9 February 2016 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

In the 19th century, Cesare Lombroso and his followers performed autopsies on criminals and declared that they had discovered similarities between their corpses and the bodies of "primitive humans". Lombroso went on to outline 14 physical characteristics which he and his followers believed to be common to all criminals. But British scientist Charles Buckman Goring, working in the same area, concluded that there was no noticeable physiological differences between law-abiding people and those who committed crimes. Maurice Parmelee, seen as the founder of modern criminology in America, also rejected Lombroso's theory, which was eventually withdrawn from the field of accepted criminological research.

An avid disciple of Lombroso's hires Paladin to help him find (and physically analyze) a notorious ex-gunfighter who has killed plenty of men in his time. It doesn't matter that they were all victims of a fair fight, or that the man who gunned them down now only wants to be left in peace. Professor Avatar (the word originally defined a person embodying an idea or concept) believes he has found in Jake Trueblood a perfect exemplar of Lombrosos's theory. But it isn't just cranial measurements the Professor is after: he wants Jake's actual skull to display in order to bolster his argument that some men are simply "born criminals". And only Paladin stands between Jake and the Professor's intentions.

Lambroso's theory (among other things) is cleverly "shot down" in this episode; alas, it seems to keep resurrecting itself under the one guise or another to this day.

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