Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman Wiki
The Permanence of Change
Season 3, Episode 21
Takes Place {{{takesplace}}}
Air date 8 Apr 1995
Written by Carl Binder
Directed by Jerry Jameson
Episode guide
Bone of Contention

The Permanence of Change is the twenty-first episode of Season 3 of Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, and the sixty-second episode of the series.

The Reverend becomes sick and faints while teaching at the school. Dr. Mike rushes him to the clinic where she discovers he needs his wisdom teeth removed. She states that Jake Slicker has better tools for the job, and his operation occurs off screen.

While the Reverend is recovering, Dr. Mike takes over his teaching duties. Dr. Mike begins to teach the students about Darwin's theory of evolution, which angers the town, prompting some residents to complain to Jake, the mayor. Jake and the parents confront Dr. Mike outside her clinic, pull their children from the classroom, and Loren, Jake, and Hank vandalize her clinic sign by painting the word "Monkey" across it.

Meanwhile, Brian befriends a new girl at school, Mary Ann Dagget who shows signs of abuse and neglect that concerns Dr. Mike. Mary Ann is an orphan who was placed in the legal custody of Thomas Dagget. Dr. Mike visits Mary Ann's home when her absence from school is noticed, and Dr. Mike soon discovers the girl sick, malnourished, and laying on the floor of a rat infested barn with rat bites all over her legs. Mary Ann is rushed to the clinic where Thomas Dagget refuses to allow her to receive medical treatment.

Dr. Mike requests Horace to send for a marshal to bring charges against Thomas Dagget for abuse of a child, but the marshal refuses to come as no laws protecting children from abuse existed. This prompts Dr. Mike to convene the town council to vote on the removal of Mary Ann from Thomas Dagget's custody. Dr. Mike argues the town had precedent in removing animals from abusive owners after a horse was removed from a man named Zeke's custody after he was witnessed "beating it half to death." Drawing on the episode's previous theme of Darwinian evolutionary theory, Dr. Mike argues that Mary Ann is no different than the horse because both she and the horse are part of the animal kingdom. She then quotes from the Ecclesiastes 3:19-22 after protests from council and the audience over her comparison of a human to a horse, reading a passage that states humans and animals are the same because each were born of the same breath of God and both return to the same dust.

The town council votes unanimously to remove Mary Ann from Thomas Dagget's custody. Becky Bonner's mother volunteers to take Mary Ann into her custody until she finds a new family.


  • Sully thinks evolving from an eagle is more likely than an ape
  • Mary Ann's guardian doesn't send her a lunch to school and is watching her due to her parents dying
  • Hank and Loren write "Monkey" over the word "medical" on Dr. Mike's sign
  • Hanks stands up for taking Mary Ann away from Mr. Dagget for her safety
  • Mary Ann had never slept in a real bed before


  • Reverend - abscessed wisdom tooth
  • Mary Ann Dagget - rat bites and other abuse related wounds

Dr. Quinn Episodes
Season 1 "Pilot" • "Epidemic" • "The Visitor" • "Law of the Land" • "The Healing" • "Father's Day "• "Bad Water" • "The Great American Medicine Show" • "A Cowboy's Lullaby" • "Running Ghost" • "The Prisoner" • "Happy Birthday" • "Rite of Passage" • "Heroes" • "The Operation" • "The Secret" • "Portraits"
Season 2 "The Race" • "Sanctuary" • "Halloween" • "The Incident" • "Saving Souls" • "Where the Heart Is" • "Giving Thanks" • "Best Friends" • "Sully's Choice" • "Mike's Dream: A Christmas Tale" • "Crossing the Line" • "The Offering" • "The Circus" • "Another Woman" • "Orphan Train" • "Buffalo Soldiers" • "Luck of the Draw" • "Life and Death" • "The First Circle" • "Just One Lullaby" • "The Abduction" • "The Campaign" • "The Man in the Moon" • "Return Engagement"
Season 3 "The Train" • "Fathers and Sons" • "Cattle Drive" • "The Library" • "Halloween II" • "The Washington Affair" • "Money Trouble" • "Thanksgiving" • "Ladies Night" • "The First Christmas" • "Indian Agent" • "The End of the World" • "Pike's Peace" • "Cooper vs. Quinn" • "What Is Love?" • "Things My Father Never Taught Me" • "Baby Outlaws" • "Bone of Contention" • "The Permanence of Change" • "Washita" • "Sully's Recovery" • "Ready or Not" • "For Better or Worse"
Season 4 "A New Life" • "Traveling All-Stars" • "Mothers and Daughters" • "Brother's Keeper" • "Halloween III" • "Dorothy's Book" • "Promises, Promises" • "Expedition" • "One Touch of Nature" • "Hell on Wheels" • "Fifi's First Christmas" • "Change of Heart" • "Tin Star" • "If You Love Someone" • "The Iceman Cometh" • "Dead or Alive" • "Deal with the Devil" • "Eye for an Eye" • "Hearts and Minds" • "Reunion" • "Woman of the Year" • "Last Chance" • "Fear Itself" • "One Nation" • "When a Child Is Born"
Season 5 "Runaway Train" • "Having It All" • "Malpractice" • "All That Glitters..." • "Los Americanos" • "Last Dance" • "Right or Wrong" • "Remember Me" • "Legend" • "The Tempest" • "Separate but Equal" • "A Place to Die" • "Season of Miracles" • "The Dam" • "Farewell Appearance" • "The Most Fatal Disease" • "Colleen's Paper" • "A House Divided" • "Hostage" • "The Body Electric" • "Before the Dawn" • "Starting Over" • "His Father's Son" • "Moment of Truth"
Season 6 "Reason to Believe" • "All That Matters" • "A Matter of Conscience" • "The Comfort of Friends" • "Wave Goodbye" • "A Place Called Home" • "Lead Me Not" • "A Time to Heal" • "Civil Wars" • "Safe Passage" • "Homecoming" • "Point Blank" • "Seeds of Doubt" • "Seven Kinds of Lonely" • "Life in the Balance" • "Happily Ever After" • "Birdman" • "Vengeance" • "To Have and to Hold" • "The Fight" • "A New Beginning "
Movies Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman: The MovieDr. Quinn: Medicine Woman: The Heart Within