On the Sultana, Yancy and Pahoo join Captain Tom in the wheelhouse and Tom says that there's a hot poker game going on in the card room. Yancy goes down to check in and see if they can keep some of the money aboard, and passes a man, Toby Cook. Toby calls Yancy "Rebel," and Yancy draws his Sharpe and turns. He recognizes Toby, who assures Yancy that he's not looking for trouble. Toby says that he got out of prison three days ago, and went to prison after he was up to no good on Gallatin Street and Yancy ended up shooting him. As for the poker game, Toby says that the players are all crooked and asks if they can go in. Yancy accepts and they start to go in, just as Willy runs down and says that there are distress signals up ahead. Yancy leaves Toby to handle the players while he goes back to the wheelhouse.
When Yancy gets up top, Tom says that the distress signal are coming from Elsie Tulliver's plantation up ahead. They can see Elsie firing the signals, and Yancy tells Tom to pull in to shore. Tom warns that they'll be late to the levee if they stop, but Yancy insists. Once ashore, Yancy and Pahoo search but find nothing.
In the card room, Toby is dealing when two masked blonde girls come in and rob them at gunpoint. When one man casually reaches for his gun, one of the robbers fires a warning shot and the men take them seriously.
Yancy and Pahoo board the Sultana and Tom backs the ship out into the river. The next morning, the Sultana arrives in New Orleans and there's a Do Not Disturb sign on the card room. Yancy goes in to break it up, and finds Toby and the other three players tied up and gagged. Once Yancy frees them, Toby explains that they were robbed. Yancy says that they'll be reimbursed for their losses, and asks Toby if he'll find them again. Toby promises that he will and leaves.
The two girls, Ricky and Wilma, are walking down Bourbon Street sans masks when they bump into Jody. Once they move on, Jody checks the bag he pickpocketed from them and finds nothing but a note in it with a phrase written on it. He then discovers that the girls stole his wallet and can't raise a protest because of his own reputation.
Nearby, John and photographer Mathew Brady are working when Yancy and Pahoo come by. John explains that he's commissioned Mathew to make a photographic record of the beauties of New Orleans. The administrator then privately tells Yancy that Toby has been released from prison, just as Toby comes by and greets Yancy. John tells Yancy to stay close to Toby, and Yancy assures him that Toby will stay close to him. Jody tells Yancy that two girls robbed him. He sheepishly admits that they pickpocketed him, and Yancy pushes Jody on ahead to find them.
Yancy and Jody go to the Tulliver plantation and Elsie comes in holding a gun. Yancy reminds her of who he is and admits that it's been a long time, and she readily sets down the gun. He explains that he's looking for two female robbers that he figures are living with Elsie, just as Pahoo escorts Ricky and Wilma in at gunpoint. Jody identifies them and Yancy points out that Elsie launched distress signals as a distraction while the girls robbed the poker game. Elsie says that it's not a crime to steal from thieves, and Yancy points out that he made good the losses. The plantation owner tells the girls to get the money and return it to Yancy, and Yancy asks for Jody's wallet back as well.
Once the girls leave, Elsie takes Yancy and the others to a room filled with orphans. She explains that other than her son, they're all orphans. The orphanages are used to provide laborers, and Elsie has sworn to put an end to it for any orphans that she can afford. She introduces Yancy to the orphans, and they ask for a song. Pahoo joins them with the money, and Yancy and Jody sing "Dixieland." Once they go to bed, Yancy volunteers to help. Once the trio leaves, Toby comes in and tells Elsie that he's her new partner.
Later, Yancy goes to John's office, while Mathew is taking a photo of him. Jody calls him out to where Elsie is waiting. She explains that Toby is blackmailing her, and Elsie and the girls will be Toby's lookouts at the cotton mart at midnight. Yancy tells her to do what Toby says, and then goes back into John's office. He tells John that there will be news about Toby by the end of the week, and asks Mathew to undertake a commission for him the next night. Mathew warns that there won't be enough light, and Yancy says that he'll provide a light that is brighter than day. He then quickly leaves before the camera finishes taking John's photo.
The next night at the cotton mart, Yancy and Pahoo pay the owner to let them in and spread gunpowder around the windows. Later, Toby breaks into the vault and Elsie and two girls are outside as lookouts. Yancy and Pahoo arrive with Mathew, Once the women leave, Yancy gives Mathew the distance to the vault. Meanwhile, Toby breaks into the vault and Yancy shatters the window. He tells Mathew to squeeze the trigger and fires a shot into the gunpowder, igniting it. The flare of light captures Toby perfectly for Mathew's camera.
The next day, Yancy meets Toby at the Charter House and shows him the photo. Toby tears it up, and Yancy points out that he still has the wet plate and suggests that Toby attend an auction at 4. The ex-convict says that he'll be there and Yancy tells him to bring lots of money.
Later at the auction at the Tulliver plantation, Yancy tells the attendees that the auction is for the orphans. Jody bids on the first item, and Yancy reminds him that he's supposed to wait until later. The pickpocket admits that he wants it for his mother, and Yancy lets him win. Elsie confirms that she's made $83, and Yancy starts bidding on a collector's item: a sealed package with a night action photo taken by Mathew. Jody starts the bidding at $1,000, and Toby tells Jody to shut up, and then bids $1,600.
As Toby declares the bidding closed, John arrives with his soldiers and demands the wet plate. Yancy tells him that he'll have to bid for it, and John bids $2,000. Toby bids $2,500, and John bids $3,000. Jody bids $3,500, and John makes a final offer of $4,000. The pickpocket bids $4,500, and Toby irritably bids $5,000. Yancy quickly closes the bidding and hands over the plate, and Toby breaks it with the auction gavel. John has him arrested for destroying evidence, and orders his men to arrest Yancy for withholding evidence.
Soon, Yancy and Toby are playing prison in the calaboose with the jailer. They soon clean the jailer out, and Yancy and Toby put all of their money up against the jailer's keys.
Written by Gadfly on Jun 19, 2017