174-“The Mark of Cain”

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Written by Shimon Wincelberg.

Philip Coolidge as Dr. Leopold Avatar
Roy Barcroft as Jake Trueblood
Iphigenie Castiglioni as Piña
Olive Carey as Woman
Rick Silver as Enoch Harrison
Dale Ishimoto as Temuchin-Khan
Herschel Graham as Hotel Guest (uncredited)
Cosmo Sardo as Hotel Guest (uncredited)

Certain marks of degeneracy shared with lower animals
and habitual criminals, you call this the mark of Cain.
Have you looked at yourself?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Would you direct me to Mr. Paladin?

HEY BOY
Mr. Paladin over there.

Paladin is in the billiards room of he Hotel Carlton receiving lessons in Mongolian swordsmanship by the Master swordsman, Temuchin-Khan.

Temuchin-Khan demonstrates his skill by slicing Paladin’s calling card in half by sword in mid air.  Paladin appears amply impressed.

TEMUCHIN-KHAN
Control, gentleness, concentration, and terror! With those quality, Genghis Khan conquered half the world. Now, for your first lesson. My dear sir, it will take many hundred hours of intensive practice before you are permitted to even touch an actual sword.

PALADIN
Temuchin-Khan, I am paying for the lesson?

TEMUCHIN-KHAN
Of course but…

PALADIN
I would like to have a lesson with a real sword.

They engage in swordplay, ending in Paladin’s satisfaction.

PALADIN
Well, Temuchin-Kahn…you have earned your fee very well today.

TEMUCHIN-KHAN
Thank you, Mr. Paladin.

As Dr. Avatar approaches Paladin, Hey Boy begins to nervously mutter something in Chinese, apparently as a warning not to disturb Paladin during this time.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
You will forgive my disturbing?

PALADIN
I will.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Well, for $1,000, payable in advance?

PALADIN
Count it out on the table.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
I am Dr. Leopold Avatar. Perhaps you’ve read about me.

PALADIN
Hmm. Yes, you are Professor Cesare Lombroso’s disciple, and his theory of criminal identification.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
It is good to meet someone in this country who has heard of our work.

PALADIN
Well, I do I have a certain interest in criminology.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Ah, well, then perhaps you will know what these are for?

PALADIN
Yes, they are used to measure what Lombroso has termed the “stigmata of degeneracy”.
Certain cranial abnormalities, low sensitivity to pain, primitive instincts found in cannibals and cave-dwellers, apes, animals, and habitual murderers. In short, the mark of Cain.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
And that is why I have come back to America.

PALADIN
Oh, a shortage of murderers in Europe this year?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Oh, there’s never a shortage of wife killers, murders of passion, momentary rage, that sort of thing. My interest is in the habitual murderer. The man who kills, 10, 20, 30 people. For him it is not circumstance, or unrequited love, or even small prejudice that drives him to kill. No, sir, with him it is constitutional. He cannot help himself.
And that is the mark of Cain.

PALADIN
And that is what you hope to find in the Wild West.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
In the words of Lacassagne, “Societies get the criminals they deserve.”

PALADIN
And what will you do with one if you catch him?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Why, I should make a detailed record of his skull measurements and reflexes. The James boys, the Daltons, Cherokee Bill, Jake Trueblood, Tom Horn. Their very names come
rolling off the tongue like thunder. How long I’ve dreamt of meeting some of them face to face.

PALADIN
The only one out of that bunch is left alive is Jake Trueblood. And you don’t want him.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Oh, why not? He’s on my list. But he’s practically the head of it.

PALADIN
Jake’s not a murderer. No, he’s never killed anyone expect in a fair fight.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Oh, perhaps so, but after 20 or 30 times, would you not agree that a pattern tends to emerge?

PALADIN
What makes you think Jake would let you get that close to his skull?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Well, for a thousand dollars, Mr. Paladin. I expect you to arrange the details.
Now, here is an idealized projection of the arch-typical mass-murderer.
Now, you will note the long lower jaw. The asymmetrical cranium.
The high cheekbones and narrow forehead.

PALADIN
That’s Jake all right.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Well, you can see why I’m particularly anxious not to lose him. Could we start this afternoon?

PALADIN
Well, Jake is living in seclusion. Too many hot-blooded young gun fighters running around with their tongues hanging out for the reputation of being the man that gunned downed Jake Trueblood.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
And you don’t believe that you could persuade a lonely old man to lend me the use of his skull for five minutes, in the interest of science?

PALADIN
Well, it’s possible that Jake might like to see this year’s newspaper.
He might even enjoy a good bottle of wine.

INT. WESTERN CABIN – DAY

WOMAN
You made up your mind, mister?

ENOCH HARRISON
You looking at me, mister?

Paladin nods.

ENOCH HARRISON
Well, shove your nose in some other direction, or I might mash it down for you.

WOMAN
Not in here. Outside.

ENOCH HARRISON
Can’t rightly decide on either one of these. I’ll just keep my old one.

PALADIN
Enoch Harrison, wanted in Placerville for the murder of two miners last year.

ENOCH HARRISON
Who says?

PALADIN
I say.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
You attract violence, don’t you?

PALADIN
Ma’am, will you take that gun off me?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
It’s really quite fascinating, the way you did that. It’s very neat. You goad a man into a fight. Then kill him, in self-defense.

PALADIN
Now, what’s that for?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Merely to satisfy myself.

PALADIN
Of what?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
That you’ve killed an innocent man.

PALADIN
Thank you. Thank you very much. Now, what we came in for was trail provisions.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Doesn’t care much for human society, does he?

PALADIN
Human society has never given him any reason to. Better wait here, Professor.

INT. JAKE’S CABIN – DAY

PALADIN
Jake? Jake!

Jake shoots at Paladin.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
So you want the credit of bringing down Jake Trueblood, huh?
All right, go ahead and draw. I’ll give you a fair shake at it.

PALADIN
Jake, I didn’t come here to kill you.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
You didn’t? I don’t know any other reason a man come up in this canyon.
Hey, don’t I know you? You look awful familiar to me.
Oh, you ain’t no notch-collector. What are you coming after me for?

PALADIN
I brought a someone to see you.
That’s a doctor, Jake. A doctor of sorts. He wants to make some measurements on you.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
Ain’t no one gonna measure me expect for a pine box. I ain’t ready for that yet.

PALADIN
Jake, there is a man of science. He’s come all the way from Europe just to measure your mangy old skull. You may not realize it, but in Europe you are a very important man.
The last of the old gun hands. Yes, sir, the kind they write books about.
Like Paul Revere and Robin Hood and Mike Fink.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
They still remember me, huh?

PALADIN
Yes, they do.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
I’ll bet it sure grabs them fast little trigger boys to think that old Jake is still walking around unventilated.

PALADIN
Maybe, but I suspect there are more people worrying about the high price of coffee.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
Well, that’s the trouble of this country today. Too many men scraping off their beards and worrying about the high price of grub, instead of who’s top gun, and who’s gonna bring him down. I wouldn’t be surprised to wake up some morning and find them all wearing petty coats and drinking fresh cow’s milk for breakfast. Say, you wouldn’t happen to have some store-bought vittles left over in your saddlebag, would you?

PALADIN
Now, Jake, you’re not going soft are you?

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
I don’t reckon I am. But I’d sure as sell my soul to get a look at this year’s newspaper and bottle of that good, honest drinking wine.

PALADIN
Jake, your soul’s worth more than one bottle.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
Try me and see.

PALADIN
All right, Professor, come on down. And don’t forget the wine.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
Pina, come on down here. Come on, come on. Are friend here just brung us some store-bought grub.

PIÑA
You are his friend?

PALADIN
I hope so.

PIÑA
Then why you betray this place to strangers? Do they pay you well?

PALADIN
That stranger has no harm in him. He’s a man of science, possibly a fool, possibly both.

PIÑA
So is this a science. If Jake no longer has the heart to use it. I do.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
Oh, Pina, he’s our friend.

Dr. Avatar proceeds to measure Jake’s cranium.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
Oh, you be careful with that contraption, you understand? What are you doing?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Low sensitivity to pain. Perfect.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
Who, me?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
I did not believe it was possible. You have the ideal measurements.

PIÑA
Ideal for what?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
The perfect configuration of born murderer.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
Well, now, you didn’t have to come all this way just to find out if Jake Trueblood brought down a few men in his time. And besides, what’s my head got to do with it?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Why, everything. Whether you know it or not, sir. it’s the shape of the skull, and that alone, that has made you into a killer.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
And now what happens?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Nothing. My job is finished. You simple people have confirmed my theory.

PALADIN
Pina, it is only a theory and pretty far-fetched one.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
My dear Mr. Paladin, let me assure you, a man with the cranial measurements of Jake Trueblood could no more help murdering his fellow man than a cat can help from killing mice.

PALADIN
Pina, he just doesn’t believe that man has the free will to choose between good and evil?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
I suppose it’s too late to start home today.

PALADIN
May we stay here tonight?

PIÑA
I don’t like that one, not what he says about Jake.

PALADIN
Well, it’s just a lot foolishness.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Surely, to be a congenital murderer is no more disgraceful than any other kind of sickness.

PIÑA
He is not a murderer! Listen, he never killed, except to defend himself, or someone else, and…Agh, you can stay in the storeroom. But make sure…both of you are gone by morning.

PALADIN
Avatar.

INT. INSIDE THE STOREROOM –

PALADIN
You didn’t have to tell them all that, did you?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Well, why not? The truth never hurt anyone.

PALADIN
No?

Avatar hands Paladin $1,000.

PALADIN
What’s that for?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
It’s a small bonus.

PALADIN
For what?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Well you see, my dear fellow, a few figures scribbled on a piece of paper obviously constitute proof of nothing at all. What we need to return with is the irrefutable specimen itself?

PALADIN
The what?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
The actual skull. One thousand dollars for the head of Jake Trueblood.

PALADIN
If you are so anxious to have Jake Trueblood’s head, why don’t go after it yourself?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Well, I’ve thought of that. Unfortunately, I lack your skill with weapons of slaughter.

PALADIN
Avatar…now, I’m going to get you back to San Francisco and out of danger
just as quickly as I can. In the meantime, you forget your theories, and you let Jake Trueblood alone.

PALADIN SLEEPS

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
I came to warn you.

PIÑA
Warn me of what?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
My companion is deathly jealous of Jake’s reputation as a gunfighter.
Now, if you value his life, or yours, I beg of you, don’t wait for Paladin to shoot first.

PIÑA
Jake! Jake, wake up. Wake up.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
What is it?

PIÑA
Jake, you have to kill Paladin.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
Paladin? Well, what’s he doing?

PALADIN
Jake?

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
I don’t know what this is all about. Pina, says I got to kill you, I got to kill you.
No. No, I can’t kill a man. Unless I got a good reason first.

PALADIN
Thank you, Jake.
Good night and thank you, I’ll be gone by the morning.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
I admire your forbearance.

PALADIN
Well, don’t push it much further.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
It’s a pity, really. He surely couldn’t have had much longer to live. Now, I suppose even a creature like that has an instinct for wanting to cheat the Devil as long as possible.

PALADIN
You’re standing there feeling sorry for yourself because Jake is still alive?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
You don’t feel that one man’s life is a small price to pay for the advancement of human knowledge?

PALADIN
What about your own life?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
My own included.

PALADIN
It didn’t occur to you that Jake or Pena might have killed me?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
But of course.

PALADIN
Wouldn’t that have left you without a head?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
Not at all.

PALADIN
You mean my head?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
You know, you’re almost as good a specimen as Jake himself. In fact, I might have saved myself this whole journey, if I could have found someone in San Francisco to kill you.
Well, what are you looking at? What are you gonna do with that?

PALADIN
I am going to conduct a little scientific experiment to enlarge the frontiers of human knowledge.

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
The temporal region is toward the rear.

PALADIN
Now, look at that. That look familiar? If ever a man’s head bore the mark of Cain, it’s yours. Now what does that do to your precise theory?

DR. LEOPOLD AVATAR
I had no intention of going back empty-handed. Now. I don’t want to damage the skull.

PALADIN
You’re certainly right about one thing. No skill at all with weapons of slaughter.
That gun isn’t even cocked.

PALADIN SHOOTS HIM WITH HIS DERRINGER.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
Drew on you, huh? Believe in all that stuff?

PALADIN
No. But I suppose Professor Lombroso might like to have these as a souvenir of his favorite pupil.

PIÑA
Say, do you have to send him the one of Jake? Let people think he’s dead. Let them leave us alone here.

JAKE TRUEBLOOD
Yeah.

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