Fry and John are at the docks as the Sultana pulls in twenty minutes early. John figures that Captain Tom is eager to dump Custer into his hands.
Aboard the Sultana, Tom goes to Custer's cabin and tells him that they'll be arriving shortly. Custer insists that Tom address him by his full rank and dismisses him.
Yancy arrives at the docks and wonders if Pahoo is there. John explains that Custer is arriving as the Sultana docks. When Yancy wonders why Custer is there, John explains that Custer has been court-martialed and suspended without pay for one year after the Fort Wallace incident where he condemned men illegally and executed them. They were deserters but Yancy insists that they still deserved a fair trial. John figures that Custer will use John's influence with the Secretary of War to get himself reinstated. He warns Yancy to keep Pahoo away from Custer, since Custer hates Indians. John also asks Yancy to keep an eye on Custer since he's known for his habit of speaking out of turn.
Fry brings Custer off the Sultana. As John introduces him to Yancy, an Indian fires an arrow from the shadows. It just misses Custer when Yancy shoves him out of the way. When Fry runs over, he finds Pahoo holding the discarded bow. Custer draws his gun and prepares to kill Pahoo, and Yancy slaps the revolver out of his hand. He points out that it's a Cheyenne bow, and Pahoo is Pawnee... and Yancy's blood brother. Custer demands that John hold Pahoo for attempted murder, and John reluctantly agrees. Yancy gives in and Fry leads Pahoo to the calaboose with John and Custer following.
A man, Colorado Charlie, comes over and greets his old friend Yancy. Charlie explains that he's Custer's scout, and he warns that Custer will be hard to persuade that Pahoo didn't shoot at him.
Later at the calaboose, John tells Yancy that he has no choice but to hold Pahoo. He demands Yancy's word that he won't try anything, and Yancy gives it. Custer comes in and glares at Pahoo, and John tells him that Pahoo said he didn't do it. When Yancy tells Custer that Pahoo also said that if he had done it, he wouldn't have missed, Charlie bursts out laughing. John takes Custer to his waiting carriage, and Charlie offers to break Pahoo out. Yancy refuses and Charlie says that he knows Indians and doesn't figure Pahoo to have done it.
John and Custer go to Custer's hotel room and they find a spear thrust into the back of the door. Custer figures that Yancy did it, but John points out that Yancy didn't know his hotel room. He wants Join to write John Schofield, the Secretary of War, to get him reinstated early. John refuses, saying Custer's bravery and leadership weren't the reason for Custer's suspension. Custer insists that he's at the forefront of the march of civilization, and his suspension will hold up that march.
Later, Charlie rides up to the alley outside of Pahoo's cell and gives a Pawnee signal. He tosses a rope to Pahoo, who ties it around the barred window. Charlie then backs up on his horse, pulling the window out. Pahoo jumps down, mounts the horse behind Charlie, and they ride off.
As John takes Custer to the club, Yancy comes over. John explains that he's arranged a small reception. Yancy tells them that Custer is in danger until they find his attacker. Custer doesn't believe him and gets into his carriage. Yancy pulls him back as a Cheyenne throws a tomahawk at Custer and just misses. Fry comes up and says that Pahoo broke out, and Custer vows to get the Indian and kill him. Yancy tells him that he won't live long enough, and Custer and John go to the club.
Charlie takes Pahoo to the Sultana and the cabin boy Willy brings Yancy up. Yancy tells them what happened, and suggests that it wasn't an Indian. He points out that Charlie sympathized with the Indians, and tells Pahoo to stay there. Charlie admits that Custer is a brave man, and Yancy reminds them that Custer wiped out a Cheyenne village when the braves were away. He gives Pahoo a revolver and leaves.
At the club, Custer tells Francine about a fight he had with the Indians. He's surprised that she knows military tactics. Yancy arrives and tells John that Pahoo is safe and he had nothing to do with the breakout. He explains that he wanted Pahoo safe in jail--safe from Custer--and John insists that Custer has his good points.
An Indian archer takes a shot at Custer from the next room. Yancy sees the shooter and shoves Custer and Francine out of the way. The attempted killer escapes out the window, and Charlie comes in. The trapper explains that he came in through the back when the footman wouldn't let him in the front door, and he didn't see anyone. Custer puts Charlie under arrest, but Charlie reminds him that he's still suspended.
Captain MacBain arrives from DC with a message for Custer from Sheridan. Custer meets with MacBain and discovers that Sheridan is to report to him and take over his command. He tells John to forget the letter, and Yancy tells him that the Sultana is heading back to St. Louis that night. Charlie comes out and Custer asks if he still thinks that he can't arrest him. The trapper stares him down and Custer finally lets him go. Custer tells MacBain that he can travel with him back to DC, and the two men leave.
Later aboard the Sultana, Yancy visits Custer in h is cabin and tells him that they'll be tied up at the dock for a few more hours. Custer bets that Pahoo is trying to kill him, and he's willing to bet on Pahoo's scalp. Yancy figures that Custer is brave but not very smart and only ambitious for himself, and Custer offers to set himself up as a target. When Custer takes offense, Yancy punches him unconscious, takes Custer's cloak and hat, and leaves.
A few minutes later, MacBain shoots at the items propped up on the railing. Yancy swings down on MacBain and the two men fight. After Yancy knocks MacBain out, he summons the authorities. John has his men take the captain to the calaboose, as Custer, Pahoo, and Charlie look on. Custer can't believe it, but John tells him that MacBain made a full confession. Custer invites Yancy to take his scalp since he lost their wager, and Yancy says that he'll leave it up to the Indians Custer is going to fight. Yancy then says that MacBain was married to a Cheyenne girl who was staying with the Cheyenne when Custer "defeated" them.
Custer insists that MacBain must hang, and John notes that the massacre will come out in any trial. Charlie chime in, pointing out that Custer's last trial didn't go so we4ll. Custer leaves it up to John and bids them adieu. Yancy, Pahoo, and John go ashore, and Yancy asks if John is going to let MacBain go. John says that he is, and tells Yancy that she should feel proud saving Custer. Yancy wonders what fate they saved him for.
Written by Gadfly on May 30, 2017