Washington, D.C., 1885
At the Treasury Department, the new Secret Service director Robert T. “Skinny” Malone meets with his men and informs them that three different groups of spies are working in the U.S., from England, Russia, and Spain. The rulers of the three companies are imposters, but such exact duplicates that no one can question them. No one knows where the real rulers are but they’ve been traced to the U.S. Malone’s chief advisor, Hugo Kaufman, is skeptical but Malone tells him he’s only there to pick up his laundry. The other two assistants, Henry and Joseph, agree with Malone’s plan to bring two of their agents, Jim West and Artemus Gordon, out of retirement to deal with the crisis. Malone has kept track of them, and knows that Jim is in Mexico and Artie is with a traveling tent show, the Deadwood Shakespearean Strolling Players. He sends Hugo to Mexico to get Jim and overrides his nephew’s objections.
Hugo takes the train to Mexico where the locals are celebrating. Jim is being tended to by four beautiful women when bandits ride into town and start shooting up the place and harassing the locals. The ex-agent comes over and tries to stop them, and finally subdues them. Hugo arrives in time to see the fight and points out that Jim is out of shape. Jim is less than thrilled at the criticism and they settle down for dinner. Hugo expresses his doubts about his uncle’s plan and Jim realizes that “Skinny” is the new head of the Secret Service. He points out that no one trusted Malone when he was an agent and Hugo starts to leave, but Jim stops him and asks why Malone thinks Jim and Artie are right for the assignment. Hugo suggests that Malone believes that the son of their old foe Dr. Miguelito Loveless is responsible for the imposters. Jim points out that Loveless has been dead for five years but Hugo reminds him that Loveless had a son, Michelito Jr., and he’s more ruthless than his father. Jim says that he may not want to work with Artie because he’s mad at him, but claims that he can’t remember why. When the ex-agent says that he’ll only report to the President, Hugo explains that they’re not sure if President Grover Cleveland is really who he should be. Jim agrees to take the case and promises that Artie will as well, and Hugo informs him that Artie is in Kansas City... along with the Wanderer
Jim rides to Kansas City and meets with Artie, who isn’t interested in coming out of retirement and giving up a life on the stage. He also isn’t interested in working with Jim after the dirty trick he played on him, even though he can’t remember what it was. When a woman shows up and begs Artie to take her out, he changes his mind and agrees to come out of retirement. As they leave, the show owner, Deadwood, tells Artie that he’s fired for messing up. When Artie takes offense, Jim punches him unconscious. However, Artie points out that Jim barely knocked Deadwood back twelve feet and promises to train him back into shape.
The agents are soon heading cross-country in the Wanderer
with Artie training Jim back into shape. As they head for Wagon Gap, AZ, the agents go over what little information Malone can give them and figure that Michelito Jr. has picked up where his father left off. They’re to go to a saloon where Michelito was last spotted and see what happens.
The train pulls into Wagon Gap and a young gunfighter, The Kid, steps out to block their way. He’s been looking for Jim and hopes to avenge his father by gunning him down. Jim insists that he has the wrong man but The Kid says that he memorized the face of his killer. He tells Jim that he’ll count to four and then they’ll go for their guns. Jim doesn’t draw but Artie disarms The Kid with his cane. When The Kid goes for his other gun with his other hand, Artie disarms him again. He vows to keep coming and tells them that his father was Miller Jason. Jim tells him to get his guns after they leave and The Kid staggers away. As they walk off, Jim tells Artie that Artie was the one who killed his father.
At the saloon, the agents take in the dancing girls, turn in The Kid’s guns, and order two beers. The leader dancer, Gabrielle, comes over and greets Jim, saying that he used to be very fond of her and take her all kinds of places. Jim doesn’t recognize her and Gabrielle finally figures out that he doesn’t, and explains that Jim’s old girlfriend is her mother. Artie laughs as Jim hastily tries to make amend. Gabrielle agrees to have dinner with him after her shift is over and tells Jim that he’ll feel better about the idea once he gets used to it. Once she leaves, the agents order whiskey and a woman signals to the bartender. They wonder how long they should wait and then pass out. The bartender has his men haul them away.
When the agents wake up, they discover that they’ve been taken to an underground base. They’re escorted to the study of Michelito Jr., who introduces them to his sister Carmelita, the woman from the bar. Michelito knows all about their lives and admits that he could have them killed at any time, but wanted to do something special. He assures the agents that while his father had some small streak of mercy, neither he nor Carmelita will show them any pity whatsoever.
Carmelita then brings in her brother’s two newest achievements. They are Alan and Sonya, seemingly normal human beings with superhuman strength which they proceed to demonstrate on Jim and Artie. Michelito explains that Alan and Sonya were quadruple amputees, and he designed $600 mechanical limbs to make them superhumanly strong. He plans to make an army of such people and conquer the world. Michelito then takes the agents on a tour of his base and shows them an underground base holding his four prisoners: Tsar Nicholas of Russia, Queen Victoria, King Alphonso of Spain, and President Grover Cleveland. He has placed replicas on the throne, replicas answerable only to him. Michelito then tells his guards to take the four prisoners to Observation Hill while he takes the agents on what he describes as a sentimental journey.
The agents are taken out into the desert and Michelito shows them his father’s shrine: carved from a mountain. He then has Jim and Artie kneel at the shrine and then directs their attention to two simple gravestones with their names on them. However, first Michelito takes them to Observation Point where the four heads of state are gathered. He tells them that after his demonstration, they will have twenty minutes to write letters to their countries telling them to surrender. He sends a signal and then covers his eyes, and a huge nuclear explosion envelops the distant landscape. The blast wave hits a few seconds later and Michelito has the guards send the rulers back to their cells while Jim and Artie are taken to the study.
Once they have returned, Jim tells Michelito that he’s crazy and calls him “little man.” Michelito flies into a rage and then tells them that they have thirty days to live. For now, they will deliver the four letters to their respective embassies. The agents warn him that people will never comply, but Michelito says that that he has planted his bombs in all the major capitals of the world. Sonya and Alan grab the two agents and force them to kneel before Michelito and then inject them with sedatives. Before they pass out, Michelito tells them they must be back in thirty days or a large Eastern city will disappear.
The agents wake up aboard the Wanderer
, bound for Washington. They have no idea what could have caused a blast of that magnitude and Artie admits that he has no idea what recommendation they can give to stop Michelito and his cyborgs.
In Washington, the agents give their report to Malone, who is skeptical of the whole thing. He suggests that they were hallucinating but they point out that they couldn’t see the same thing at the same time. Malone concedes that he doesn’t know if the President Cleveland in the White House is the real one, and explains that the First Lady was the first one to suspect that something was wrong. However, even she isn’t sure. Jim suggests that Michelito planted his bomb in Washington and Malone tells them to stay overnight before going back so that he can consider the matter. Once the agents leave, Hugo suggests that the agents are senile and Malone tells him to get out.
Outside, the agents take a carriage to their hotel and they figure that they should leave despite Malone’s orders. The carriage pulls over to pick up a woman, Penelope Devaraux, who asks them to protect her three men who accosted her. She breaks into tears and then draws a silenced gun, and demonstrates her prowess. Penelope says that she’s with British Intelligence but refuses to talk further. The carriage goes to the British Embassy and the agents are brought before Captain Sir David Edney. He figures that the entire thing is an American scheme and isn’t interested in their help. Jim punches Edney and they try to leap out the windows, only to discover they’re made of unbreakable glass. Jim tries diplomacy and Edney says that he expects them to cooperate. The agents refuse and Edney has his men take them to the cells. Once they leave, Penelope admits that she likes Artie and Edney realizes that they’ve made contact with Michelito.
The agents wait in their cell until Artie finally admits that he has an idea but Jim won’t like it. They do it anyway and start pounding on the walls, claiming they have an explosive. When the guards come in to investigate, Jim and Artie knock them out and head upstairs. They grab Penelope as they come in, take her purse with the gun, and Artie kisses her. The agents then make their escape.
Jim and Artie board the Wanderer
and head back to Wagon Gap while Artie examines Penelope’s gun. He left a letter for Malone explaining what happened with the British and that they couldn’t find the time to say goodbye.
Malone gets their letter and complains that the agents are out of control, and Hugo can’t help rubbing in that he said the same thing. At that, Malone tells his nephew that he’s heading west to find Jim and Artie, keep them under surveillance without them knowing it, and report back to Malone. Hugo is eager to go, and Malone tells him that if he wants to stay in Arizona after the mission is over, no one would be particularly upset.
is an hour out of Wagon Gap and Artie dons a saloon girl disguise. Jim suggests that he mingle with the other girls at the saloon but Artie is less than thrilled at his part in the plan. Meanwhile, the train comes to a flaring barricade on the tracks and is forced to stop. Two Russian soldiers aim Gatling guns at them and then open fire. When they run inside, they find two more Russian soldiers and an attractive Russian agent, Nadia Vinogradova, waiting for them. She knows about the letter they deliver to the Russian Embassy and know they are heading to the saloon. Nadia stopped the train to warn them that if anything happened to Tsar Nicholas in the U.S. then Russia would declare war. She asks if they should worry about the bomb and Jim tells her that they should. Once she leaves, Artie complains that they haven’t done anything right since the mission began, and Jim suggests he make a dress out of the tablecloth.
Later, Jim arrives in Wagon Gap and The Kid confronts him again. Jim walks over, punches him, and takes his guns. The agent then goes into the saloon and gives the guns away, and asks the same bartender as before for a whiskey. This time Jim makes sure that the bartender tries it first, while Carmelita watches from above. Jim spots Artie talking with the other saloon girls and confirms that it’s five minutes after the agreed-upon time. An hour goes by and no one comes to collect Jim. As Artie dances on stage, Jim walks outside and Carmelita approaches him. She says that she’s different from Michelito and thinks that he’s a little crazy. Jim doesn’t trust her and Carmelita kisses him. He lets her and Carmelita says that she wants to help Jim stop her brother, figuring that he’d sacrifice her as quickly as anyone else. They kiss again and Jim asks where the bomb is hidden. She finally says that it’s Washington and warns Jim that Michelito has a bomb planted in his base and will blow himself up rather than let himself be captured. Carmelita begs Jim to trust her, tells Jim that she loves him, and then goes into an upstairs apartment.
Back at the train, Jim is tracing coordinates on a map when Artie comes in and says that he had a wonderful night. He tells Jim that everyone in town works for Michelito, while Jim explains that he’s worked out Michelito’s possible location from the last place he saw Carmelita. The agents return to town and go to the apartment, and discover that Edney and Penelope are inside. They explain that Carmelita rode out of town and lost her pursuers, and that Michelito uses the apartment when he’s in Wagon Gap. As Jim and Artie leave, Edney invites them to putter around but tells them not to interfere with their investigation. Outside, the agents figure that they need to take the fight to Michelito and ride off after Carmelita.
The next morning, the agents follow Carmelita’s trail, unaware that she’s waiting up ahead with some thugs. They signal to Michelito that the agents are on their way and Carmelita tells her men to capture them. However, she then spots Edney and Penelope approaching, and Nadia and her men behind them. Finally the Spanish Secret Service follows the Russians, and Carmelita signals Michelito to send more men.
The four nations’ agents all join up and Jim and Artie are taken to Michelito’s base. Jim points out that killing them won’t accomplish his goals, but Michelito is happy with avenging his father’s death. He asks for their advice on the best way to kill them because he can’t decide, and tells Alan to put them in the cage with Cleveland. Carmelita asks for a word in private with Jim and assures Michelito that there’s no sentimentality involved. She draws him off to one side and insists that she was in love with him. However, when he’s not with her, her blood takes over. Jim points out that she was right earlier and Michelito will sacrifice her once they’re dead. Unimpressed, Carmelita has Alan take the agents to the cage.
The cyborg locks up the two agents and taunts Jim, telling him that he’ll be glad to fight him anytime. The agents introduce themselves to Cleveland, who is less than thrilled with their performance to date. They assure him that they are planning an escape, but are interrupted when Sonya throws Edney and Penelope in. She locks them up with Queen Victoria and they tell her that she has been replaced by an imposter. Edney then turns to Jim and Artie and asks what their plan is for escaping, and they tell him they don’t have a plan.
The remaining agents are locked up with their rulers and Jim waits until the guards doze off. Jim then picks the cell door lock and Artie gives the pick to Edney in return for his promise to cooperate. His partner knocks out the guard, reaches for the keys, and fights the second guard when he wakes up and tries to stop him. After a brief fight, Jim tosses the keys to Artie to free the others. However, the agents start arguing about which ruler should leave first. Jim finally tells them all to shut up and look for the bomb hidden in the dungeon. As he watches, Artie leans against a lamp fitting and it shifts, revealing a hidden panel in the floor. Jim removes it from its mounting and they go up the stairs.
When the thugs see Jim with the bomb they quickly surrender. The other agents load up their rulers on the wagons and ride out, while Penelope promises to wait for Artie as long as she can. Jim and Artie descend via the well to Michelito’s study. Alan is waiting for them and refuses to be bluffed. Jim hands the bomb to Artie and the cyborg tosses Jim against the wall. However, the agent makes short work of the cyborg thanks to his superior fighting skills. They enter the study and Michelito warns that the bomb is useless to them if they don’t know how to detonate it. The agents offer to kick it around and see what happens, and Michelito admits it could malfunction. They tell Michelito to let them leave with the other prisoners, but promise to come back for him once everyone is safe. Carmelita asks Jim to take her with him, warning him that there’s something he doesn’t know.
Jim and Artie take Carmelita with them and she warns that Michelito can detonate the bomb from any distance. They put the bomb in a chest and then take the elevator up while Michelito screams that Carmelita will die for betraying her kin. Once they’re gone, he laughs in triumph. However, as Jim and Artie ride away with Penelope and Carmelita, they see a nuclear explosion behind them. However, Carmelita warns that her brother created at least five replicas of himself.
Back in Wagon Gap, Artie and Jim discuss how Artie plans to manage Penelope’s new career as an actress. The Kid confronts them again and Jim asks for his gun, promising not to shoot him. Jim shoots off the posts on a sign and tells The Kid to stop picking on him, and The Kid realizes that he’s outmatched. Continuing on their way, the agents meet Nadia, who explains that she has defected to the West. She’s now working at the saloon as a dance girl. Hugo finds the agents and admits that he couldn’t follow them, but that he did find Gabrielle and they’re together. He tells Jim and Artie that he’s decided to move out west, and Gabrielle promises to give Jim’s regards to her mother.
Jim and Artie finally get to the Wanderer
and confirm that President Cleveland is on board… as is Penelope, since Artie promised to give her a lift to Kansas City. Jim convinces his partner to escort Cleveland to Washington and then promises he can go anywhere he wants with Penelope. They shake hands, admitting that it was fun, but they wonder if they really defeated Michelito. Jim suggests that Michelito may have never abducted the real rulers and anticipated that they would “rescue” his replicas and do his job for them. While Artie considers the idea, Carmelita arrives and Jim kisses her. Penelope gestures to Artie to come inside, while Jim tells Carmelita that he would never trust her because of her confused loyalties. She accepts his decision with good grace and they share one last kiss.
As Jim boards the train, Artie asks if he was kidding. Jim points out that they have no idea if any of them are really who they claim, and Artie nervously boards the Wanderer
The modern-day Robert T. Malone the 4th tells the audience that the show was created based on old files. He says that everything that happened is highly unlikely, but asks the audience to notify them if they come across any 19th century nuclear bombs.