Yancy is gambling at the club when Jody busts in and tells Yancy that the Sultana is in trouble. The gambler's winning streak ends, and he heads for the door. John comes in and Jody quickly heads the other way, and the administrator tells Yancy that river pirates jumped the Sultana.
At the docks, Yancy, Pahoo, and John board the Sultana and Willy tells Yancy that Captain Tom is at the hospital. River pirates boarded them and their leader, Coco, came aboard up-river like a passenger. Once she took out the engineer, the other pirates boarded and stole the mail, cargo, and passengers' belongings. John says that they have to see Fry in Yancy's cabin, and they head there. Fry is tied up and gagged, and John asks if they took the necklace.
The necklace is still there in a box, and John explains that it's a replica of the one Carlotta had when Mexico overthrew Maximillian a year ago. He figures that the real one is on Frenchman's Island, and explains that the U.S. intercepted the real necklace when it was being smuggled abroad to Carlotta. They planned to deliver it back to the Mexican government, and John had the replica made up in St. Louis and sent Fry to accompany it while he had the real one shipped by ordinary mail: the mail the pirates stole. Fry reports that Coco realized the necklace was a fake, and John has three days to get the necklace before the Mexican representative arrives. Fry offers to go to Frenchman's Island and recover it, but Yancy warns that they'll kill him on sight. The pirates will retreat rather than fight John's men, and Yancy offers to recover it along with his new shirts from St. Louis. He plans to wear one of the shirts at the upcoming Mardi Gras ball, and explains that he met Coco a year ago when she was wearing a mask. She invited Yancy to visit Frenchman's Island, and he plans to accept.
John talks to Yancy outside and says that he'll go\ with him since his career is at stake. He plans to go in disguise, and Yancy finally agrees.
Soon, Yancy, Pahoo, and a disguised John take a canoe to Frenchman's Island. Coco and her lieutenant Pierre easily spot them and open fire, and the canoe tips over. Yancy calls out who it is, and Coco stops Pierre from shooting him. The three men swim ashore, and Coco immediately slaps Yancy when he kisses her hand. She says that she isn't offended: she'll tell Yancy when and where to kiss her. When Pierre objects, Coco slaps him.. Yancy explains that he came there to get his new shirts back, and reminds her that she invited him there. He introduces John as "Black John", and Coco takes them to her cabin.
Once they arrive, Coco has Pierre take Pahoo and John to get dry clothes. She takes Yancy into her cabin, and Pierre warns that she's pressing him too far. Inside, Yancy takes in Coco's accumulated loot, and she admits that she robbed the Sultana. He notices that Coco is wearing one of his shirts, and says that he'd like to wear one to the ball. Yancy offers to pay her for one, and Coco warns that Pierre is very jealous. She tells Yancy to change outside and he agrees. Outside, Yancy tells Pierre that Coco said for the pirate to give Yancy some clothes. Once Yancy changes and comes back, Coco lets him in and Yancy finds her wearing a dress and the necklace. He compliments her and Coco orders him to kiss her now. Yancy warns that she can't order kisses and says that it doesn't mean anything if he has to. He then kisses her anyway.
Pierre and another pirate, Tick Tock, come in and Pierre punches Yancy. Yancy shoves him away and Coco yells at them to go. Tick Tock immediately leaves and Coco draws a knife on Pierre. Once he goes, she says that she's worried about Tick Tock because he's not jealous, and figures that Yancy came for the necklace. She knows who it belongs to, and says that Yancy can have it if he takes her to the ball on Mardi Gras. Coco talks about how she used to watch Yancy go in before the War with the beautiful ladies, and she promised herself that one day she'd go in the same way. Yancy warns that U.S. and Mexican agents will try to capture her if she wears the necklace there, but Coco figures that he'll get her in and out safely. If he doesn't then something might happen to "Black John," and Coco will hold him and Pahoo hostage. Yancy gives his word and tells him to wait outside while she changes.
Later, Yancy and Coco leave and Pierre insists on going with her. Coco refuses and tells her to watch Pahoo and John. Once they leave, Pierre locks Pahoo and John in Coco's cabin. Tick Tock comes over and says that part of the necklace is his. He tells Pierre that he's not following her orders any more and follows the couple.
Yancy takes Coco to the Sultana, explaining that it's the safest place in town. He takes Coco to his cabin while Willy secretly watches. Later, Yancy meets with Fry and gets the fake necklace, and tells the Secret Service agent that he'll get him the real one by midnight at the ball. Once Fry leaves, Jody steals a flower from a nearby vendor and Yancy snags him with his cane as the pickpocket goes past. He asks Jody to do a job for him: steal something. Jody is intrigued when hears he'll be stealing Carlotta's necklace. Yancy gives him the fake and tells Jody to switch them for the real necklace on Coco and then bring it to Yancy at the club. Jody agrees and takes the fake.
Back on the Sultana, Yancy goes to his cabin and finds Coco in a dress and tiara. He assures her that she looks beautiful, and Coco admits that she's scared that she's a lady. Yancy assures her that she is a lady, and offers her a mask before they leave.
In Coco's cabin, John tells Pahoo that they have to escape. Pahoo gives him one of Coco's champagne bottles to use as a club, and signs to the administrator to call in the guard. John does so and Pahoo knocks out the guard. Pierre attacks John, who punches him unconscious, and the two prisoners leave.
A masked Fry arrives at the ball, while a masked Jody watches Yancy and Coco dance. The pickpocket finally comes over and "accidentally" bumps into Coco, making the switch. When Jody tries to slip away, Fry arrests him. Meanwhile, a masked Tick Tock comes in and when he tries to grab the necklace, Yancy punches him unconscious. When she realizes who it is, Coco chuckles and hands the necklace over to Yancy.
On the street, John and Pahoo approach Yancy and Coco. John tries to arrest Coco, but Yancy points out that he promised her amnesty for the night. He calls to a lieutenant and tells him to put the disguised John under arrest, claiming that John tried to steal Coco's necklace and is babbling about being the City Administrator. Coco is glad to play along, claiming that John is probably a pirate, and the lieutenant takes John away.
After escorting Coco home, Yancy goes to the calaboose where Jody and John are locked up. Fry finally arrives and releases John, just as Yancy and Pahoo arrive. Yancy explains that Jody stole the necklace for him, but Fry points out that Jody stole his wallet. Fry then gives the necklace to John, who thanks Yancy for his service to the country... and points out how he had John arrested. Yancy makes himself at home and takes out a deck of cards, and John warns him that he'll be there for a long time. Jody refuses to discuss it with Yancy.
Written by Gadfly on Aug 7, 2017