Yancy and Pahoo arrive at the dock to leave for Virginia City, and meet with Captain Billy, the new captain of the Sultana. Billy says that they have a full manifest, just as Jody runs over and says that John has thrown Mai-Ling in the calaboose. She sent word to find Yancy and ask for help, and Jody explains that she's been charged with smuggling opium. Yancy tells Billy to hold the boat and heads to the calaboose.
When they arrive, Mai-Ling explains that she received a shipment of Chinese fireworks for the coming New Year. She imported them from San Francisco, and when the shipment reached the Sazerac Fry and his men arrested her and seized the fireworks.
John arrives, furious that anyone was notified of Mai-Ling's imprisonment. He tells Yancy not to interfere because the crime is national and under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Treasury. John reluctantly says that bail is $5,000, and Yancy immediately agrees to pay it. He insists that Mai-Ling is innocent, and John tells him to come to his office immediately if he wants to help Mai-Ling. Otherwise she'll be in prison by the time that Yancy returns from Virginia City.
Later, John shows Yancy the fireworks and Yancy lights them. They don't go off, and Yancy confirms that they're filled with opium. The Green Dragon Importing House sent them to Mai-Ling, and the owner and her cousin Hon Lee oversaw the shipment. Opium has been smuggled into San Francisco from the Orient, and someone has been selling it to the Chinese railroad workers. Yancy insists that Mai-Ling isn't part of the conspiracy, and says that he's heading to San Francisco to investigate. John warns that he can't postpone the trial indefinitely, and Yancy assures him that there won't be a trial.
At the docks, Yancy tells Mai-Ling to send a telegram to Hon Lee and he's coming to help. Jody warns against getting involved with the Tongs, but Mai-Ling assures them that Hon Lee is an honorable man. Yancy tells Jody to have Bourbon Street guard Mai-Ling while he's gone, and departs on the Sultana.
In San Francisco, Yancy and Pahoo go the Green Dragon while two locals watch them. Inside, the clerk Ruby tells Yancy that Hon Lee isn't there and won't be there. A bell rings, and Yancy says that Ruby is mistaken. After a moment, she tells him that Hon Lee is there and apologizes. In the back office, Hon Lee shows Yancy Mai-Ling's telegram to prove who he is. Yancy asks about the fireworks, and Hon Lee says that he had the authorities inspect the fireworks before they left. He doesn't know when the switch was made, and finally says that the South Wind clipper ship took the fireworks to New Orleans around the Horn. Before Yancy goes, he says that Mai-Ling told him that Hon Lee was an honorable gentleman... and he'll tell her that she's wrong.
As Yancy goes, Ruby warns him that he's in great danger and should leave town at once. Yancy and Pahoo leave the company, and the two men follow them. When they spot them, Yancy and Pahoo run and bump into a man, Blackjack Benson. Blackjack refuses to let them pass and says that he's looking for a fight and there's no one his size. When the two locals catch up, one of them throws a knife and Blackjack pulls Yancy out of the way. Pahoo kills one of them, and the other one runs off. Blackjack leads the two men off.
Once Blackjack gets them to safety, he tells Yancy that if he goes back to Chinatown, more Tong men will come after him. Yancy introduces himself, and Blackjack says that he's a highwayman and nobody has heard of him because he's never been caught. He wants Yancy to buy him a drink for saving his life, and suggests that they go to the Jezebel on the Barbary Coast.
When the trio arrives at the Jezebel, there's a fighting going on. The owner, Miss Jessie, wants Blackjack to break up the fight. Yancy offers to stop it despite Blackjack's warning. He goes over and asks the two fights to stop the brawling. They ignore him and Yancy knocks one of them unconscious while Pahoo takes out the other. Jessie thanks him for his intervention and Blackjack performs the introductions. Yancy spots a poker game and joins them.
Jessie goes outside and calls to Alex Bristol. He steps out of the fog and takes her to where Hon Lee is waiting. Hon Lee apologizes for letting Yancy get away, and warns that Yancy is a dangerous man. Jessie says that she's a dangerous woman, and warns that if Hon Lee slips up again then he'll be at the bottom of the way. Alex says that he'll handle Yancy, and Jessie tells Hon Lee to start loading the bales onto the South Wind. She then orders Alex to make sure that Yancy doesn't make it to morning.
Jessie goes back into the bar and discovers that Yancy is losing. His opponent, Captain Brown, congratulates him on his poker playing. Yancy explains that he has a riverboat in New Orleans, and Brown explains that Jessie owns the South Wind and the West Wind.
Alex comes in and nods to Jessie, who tells the bartender to make a drugged drink for Yancy,. Meanwhile, Ruby calls Pahoo outside and tells him to tell Yancy that "Hon Lee" is actually Fong, and took the real Hon Lee's place. She warns that the real Hon Lee is dead and quickly runs off.
Yancy and Brown play six-card stud while Alex watches. Pahoo comes back inside and signs to Yancy, and Jessie comes over with Yancy's drink and one for herself. Blackjack notices the drink, and Yancy calls Brown. Well aware that something is up, Yancy covers both drinks, switches them as a part of what he claims is a New Orleans tradition, and drinks Jessie's drink. Jessie has no choice but to drink it, and Yancy wins the hand. He says that he isn't feeling too well and then collapses. Jessie tells Alex to let Pahoo help them get Yancy outside and tells Blackjack to stay out of it. Once they go out the back, Blackjack leaves via the front.
Jessie and Alex lead Pahoo to the warehouse next door. Fong and the surviving Tong fighter from earlier emerge from the shadows, and Alex draws his gun on Pahoo. Jessie tells Alex to dump Yancy in the bay,
Blackjack finds his younger brother Wee Willie in the fog, and Willie says that Jessie and her people have been transferring the inspection seals on the firecrackers to the bales with the quiet firecrackers. They deal with the fireworks first by Blackjack cutting open a bale.
Jessie staggers and realizes that she drank the drugged liquor. Yancy opens his eyes, and Jessie realizes that he switched drinks. She collapses and Yancy attacks Alex while Pahoo fights the two Tong members. Yancy shoots the other Tong fighter, and Pahoo puts a knife to Fong's throat. Blackjack and Willie run in and join the fight, and Fong says that he'll talk. Once they take care of Alex, Blackjack explains that he and his brother are special investigators for the Customs Department. Yancy figures that Jessie and her gang were using the same firecrackers and just transferring their seals to the quiet firecrackers to get them past Customs. Black jack insists that Yancy buy them drinks after they clean up, and Yancy quickly agrees.
Written by Gadfly on Aug 6, 2017