On the docks of New Orleans, Bart Maverick arrives in town and gets directions to a house on Rue Rubidoux. When Bart arrives, his brother Bret greets him and invites him inside. Bart says that he left as soon as he got Bret's letter, and asks about the once-in-a lifetime scene Bret mentioned. His brother tells him that they'll talk about it later after he cleans up. Once Bart does, the brothers admit that they're both broke, and Bret describes the River Princess, a steampack on its maiden voyage the next day. Bret figures that they can take the money from the Creole rich families, and they'll get a cabin on it by selling Bart's silver saddle.
Once the brothers do so, they go to book passage. The clerk, George Rousseau, tells them that there are no cabins available and only the personal guests of Henri Deveraux are allowed. The clerk tells them that they have no chance of convincing Henri to grant them, and Bret offers him a bet of $500. George accepts and gives them directions to Henri's town suite, and Bret insists on writing the check.
That night at the Hotel Royale, Bret and Bart take a table at the restaurant. The maitre'd, Pierre, points out Henri having dinner with his daughter Yvette. Inspector Marvin is at a nearby table and Pierre tells him that the Mavericks asked for a table near Henri. Singer Jody Collins comes down and performs, Yvette glances at him admiringly, and tells Henri that it's permissible to look at an entertainer. Henri dismisses him as a musket hunter, and Yvette points out that they're both Americans. Her father disagrees, insisting that they're Creole.
Bart glances over at Yvette, who returns his look. Henri objects, and tells Jody that they don't want his presence. Jody, insulted, refuses and Henri prepares to hit him. Bret stops him and Bart suggests that Jody take Henri's "tip". Once Jody takes it and leaves, the Mavericks claim that shipping officers up the river wanted them to provide a report on the River Princess. Henri refuses to discuss it. Marvin comes over and asks if he can be of assistance, and Henry quickly leaves. Outside, Henri insists that he will hold Yvette at they're plantation and he'll do it until she has a husband. As they approach the carriage, the footman punches grabs a screaming Yvette and rides off with her.
Bret and Bart hear the commotion, and Bart leaps on the wagon while Bret rides after it. Bart is knocked loose and sees the carriage stop briefly down the street at a shop. Bret arrives and Bart tells him what happened, and they agree to rescue Yvette themselves and earn Henri's gratitude as well as his invitations. Bret tells Bart to give him ten minutes and then come in after him, and enters the shop. He looks around and sees someone in the next room. He barges in and finds Yvette and two men, Jubal and Rick. They jump Bret, and Yvette says that Bret isn't with the police.
Once Jubal and Rick release Bret, Yvette explains that Jody is from the bayous and her father doesn't like him. However, Yvette and Jody are in love, and they arranged a subterfuge so that Jody could "rescue" her and Henri would accept him. Bret agrees to play along but Rick refuses to let Bret leave until Jody gives the okay. Yvette says that Rick is being paranoid, but Bret has no choice but to agree and sits down with Yvette.
Jody arrives and asks Bret how he found the place. He asks where Bart is, and Bret claims that Bart is at the hotel. Rick tells Jody that they were waiting for Jody before dealing with Bret. Jody tells Yvette to sit down and tells her to write a letter to Henri that she's been kidnapped. He figures that Henri would have cut her off if she had married him. Yvette apologizes to Bret for bringing him into the situation, and Jody tells Bret that he's splitting $25,000 between the three of them. He tries to turn Rick and Jubal against Jody, noting that they're not getting an even cut for taking the same risks, and Jody slaps him.
Bret takes the slap in stride and says that Henri will pay $50,000 and that will take care of his cut when he delivers the letter. He warns Jody that kidnapping isn't for amateurs and most of them don't get to spend the ransom. Bret claims that he and Bart are bank robbers, and describes a kidnapping case a year ago when they got $100,000. He tells Yvette that he won't mind if she takes back her apology, and says that Jody needs him to deliver the ransom letter to Henri and get the $50,000 that night. Bret says that Henri can cash a check at Saint Cyr Casino. When Bret tells him his share is $5,000, Jody tells Bret that he's not stupid. Bret offers to stay there as a hostage while Bart collects the money. When Jody tells Rick to check outside, Bret warns that Bart has orders to shoot anyone who comes outside and they have a special whistle signal.
Jody tells Bret to whistle, and Bart hears him and comes in the back entrance. Bret calls Bart in and throw away his gun, and Jubal and Rick train guns on him when he comes in. His brother has Bart hand over his gun, and introduces Yvette.
At police headquarters, Marvin tells his men to search everywhere for Yvette. Henry tells the inspector that the footman--Jubal--has only been with them for two days when they're regular footman was robbed and beaten. Marvin also tells his men to arrest Bret and Bart. Henri offers a $5,000 reward for the return of his daughter, and suggests that the Mavericks may not be involved. Marvin isn't convinced, saying that he's seen their type before.
Bret and Bart write the ransom letter, and Jody hands over Yvette's necklace to Bart to prove that she was there. Jody threatens to kill Bret if Bart isn't back by midnight, giving him four hours. Rick secretly follows him, but Bart lures him into an alleyway and knocks him out. Meanwhile, Bret suggests that Rick will take the money from Bart. Jody doesn't believe Rick would betray him but is clearly uncertain.
Bart goes to the pawnshop where he sold his saddle and asks the owner Ziggy for two pounds of gunpowder. Ziggy tells him about the kidnapping and Bart secretly grabs some fuse when Ziggy isn't looking. They haggle over the cost of the gunpowder, and Bart talks him down. He then goes to the hotel and tells Henri that Yvette is safe and explains that Jody is holding Yvette and Bret hostage for $50,000. Marvin doesn't believe him, figuring that it's a swindle, and Bart shows Henri the necklace. Henri's lawyer Anton Rivage asks for a full explanation, and Bart says that Jody and his men would have dumped all three of them in the river if Bret hadn't convinced them that the Mavericks were professional kidnappers. He asked for the money because he might need it to keep Yvette and Bret from being killed. Bart admits that they were hoping to get an invitation on the River Princess to play poker. He admits that he can't give Henry any guarantees, but he'll do his best for him.
Henry tells Bart that he places little faith in him or Americans, but he'll give him the money to get Yvette back. Ziggy returns and says that Bart was in his shop and bought two pounds of gunpowder. Bart has already ditched the packet of gunpowder, and Marvin arrests Bart and takes him in to question him about where Yvette is. Bart warns that Jody doesn't care if he lives or dies and reminds Henri that the deadline is still midnight.
Jody paces nervously and wonders where Rick and Bart are. Bret plays on Jubal's feelings toward his wife, and Jubal insists that she's beautiful..
Rick works free of the ropes that Bart tied him up with.
Bret suggests that Jody move on to another city and joining the Mavericks in their kidnapping ring. Jubal says that he'd go along, and Jody casually dismisses him. Bret says that they can hire tough men anywhere, and Jody realizes that Bret is playing them. Yvette realizes what Bret is up to and suggests that Jody would be good with women in San Francisco. She laughs at Jody, saying that he'd be the man for so many women. Jody angrily says that there would be plenty of women but none of them would be good enough for him. He insults Jubal's wife, and Jubal jumps him. Bret grabs Jubal's gun and leaves with Yvette. However, Rick gets the drop on Bret and recaptures him.
Marvin beats Bart and then offers him $2,500 and freedom for him and Bret. Bart doesn't trust him, and Henri and Anton come in at 20 until midnight. Henri tells Marvin to release Bart and the inspector reluctantly does so. Bart refuses to count the ransom money, saying that it's time for him and Henri to trust each other. Henri offers to go with Bart, but Bart figures that he has to do it alone and has Henri order Marvin not to send any police with him. As Bart goes, Henri asks him to make sure that Yvette is saved.
Bart gets the gunpowder that he hid outside the hotel and leaves by carriage, unaware that Marvin is following him in another carriage. He goes to the shop and then knocks Marvin out when the inspector comes after him. Bart puts a fuse on the gunpowder packet and pockets it, and then goes inside.
Rick worries that the Mavericks are too smart for them, but Jody figures that he's smarter. Yvette apologizes to Bret. Bart whistles and Jody lets him in. He says that the packet has the ransom money, and Jody tells him to hand it over. Bart takes the packet out and secretly shows the fuse to Bret. He then tells Jody to surrender or he'll light the fuse as they shot him down. Jody figures that he's bluffing but Rick and Jubal aren't so sure. When Jubal tries to run, Jody turns the gun on him and figures that Bret won't kill Bart and Yvette. Bret says that Bart will do it.
Rick insists on running, and Bart lets him go once he drops the gun. As Rick leaves, Jody shoots him in the back and tells Bart to drop the gun or he'll give him the same thing. Jubal jumps Jody and Jody shoots him. Bret gets Yvette out, and Bart lights the fuse and tosses the packet at Jody. Jody shoots and wounds Bart in the arm, and then the gunpowder explodes.
Later on the River Princess, Henri and Yvette congratulate Bart at their luck on the table. Henri says that Yvette told him that she let herself be kidnapped, and tells Bart that he was wrong about Americans. The Mavericks also taught him that he could be proud to be an American. Henri and Bart shake, and Henri admits that he may have been harsh with Yvette. Once he leaves, Bart tells Yvette that he'll recover with some sympathetic attention.
Bret takes a break from gambling and goes out on the deck. Bart is regaling Yvette with stories about how they go where they want. Bret takes Bret's place and says that sometimes that freedom means leaving people behind, while Bart takes his place at the poker table.
Written by Gadfly on Jun 16, 2019