The episode opens in a warehouse strewn with all manner of items. A uniformed man, a military captain, enters and begins to study the contents. From behind a corner, an Oriental woman watches him. The man opens a wine crate; the woman lifts the glass dome from a clock and sets the hands to twenty minutes before twelve. As the captain pours himself a glass of wine, the woman starts the clock and replaces its glass dome.
At a nearby cantina, James West wanders the floor, drink in hand. Finally he reaches the bar. The woman from the warehouse approaches the guitar player; he stops playing and removes a string from his instrument, then leaves through the door to the courtyard. The woman moves behind the bar and tells Jim that Captain Jack wishes to speak to him on the patio.
Jim goes to the patio but does not see his contact. The guitar player throws the string over Jim’s head; another man moves in to help. There’s a tussle but Jim prevails. Gun to his head, the guitar player tells Jim where Captain Jack really is: the warehouse. Jim goes there. At the warehouse Jim calls out and Captain Jackson appears. He calls Jim in, but just then an explosion behind him rips the building apart. Jim races to the captain’s side, but his injuries are too severe. He dies; his last word is “Flory.”
Later, Jim’s private train pulls to a stop; Jim rides to it. Inside, Artie is making coal – well, not real coal, but dynamite covered with a black colored plaster of Paris that looks like coal. The coating keeps heat up to three hundred seventy five degrees from reaching the fuse for a minute and a half. Large amounts of coal are moving through the nearby town; this is what caught Jackson’s attention and got him to summon Jim. Artie is preparing a trap for whoever is using that coal – someone Jackson thought was big trouble for the United States. While Jim changes out of his ruined clothes, Artie prepares a trap for the coal user. Jim loads up on weapons from his concealed armory, then gets tricky ring Artie put together to complete his gear.
Back at the cantina, a beautiful dancer whirls about the floor. Jim looks through her and this catches her attention. As she dances, Jim asks the bartender about the Oriental woman who sent him into an ambush. The bartender knows nothing; laughing, he tells Jim he’s the only one behind the bar. The guitar player is likewise ignorant of the man who tried to garrote Jim. The end of the song finds him back at the bar, where the young dancer joins him.
Jim has her attention. Jim tells her he’s looking for a girl. She smiles suggestively, but Jim just tips his hat and tells her, “any other time.”
Jim walks outside and the dancer follows him. There she introduces herself as Gatita, which Jim turns into “little pussycat.” She remarks that Jim seems like he’s always hunting, like Captain Jackson. That catches Jim’s attention, he asks for more. She tells him Jackson was a friendly man. When she learns Jackson is dead it sours her mood – she doesn’t want to talk about him. But grudgingly she reveals that he was interested in treasures of art. Using that entrée, she suggests Jim follow her to her room where she’ll show him her treasures.
In her room, she serves tequila from an ornate silver flagon – an actual treasure from her ancestors. Jim asks her about “flory.” They drink tequila and she wanders towards the bed – but then Jim’s world blurs. They both drank the tequila, so what… he realizes too late that the salt she gave him with the drink was drugged. Helpless, he falls across the bed. Gatita, almost regretfully, pulls a cord. Machinery clanks to life – the canopy of the bed descends. The underside of it is covered with vicious spikes! As Gatita leaves, she tells remarks, “I’ll tell Senor Flory you were looking for him.”
Jim manages to open his eyes, barely in time. Seizing a nearby chair, he wedges it under the spikes and jackknifes out the other side of the bed seconds before the chair shatters and the spikes slam into the mattress. Moving blearily to the window, Jim notes men carrying baskets. Outside, he manages to snatch a piece of what the men are carrying from the last basket – coal. Jim follows the men to a mission outside of town. They enter through its front gates. Jim scales a wall in time to see the men disappear down some stairs.
Back at the train, Jim briefs Artie. Artie’s job is to get their rigged coal inside the mission. Jim’s going back to learn more; Artie warns him he’ll be in a foreign country – if he gets in trouble there’s little Washington can do to help.
Jim returns to the mission, scaling the outside of the wall and lurking just below the top. There he watches still more men carrying baskets down below. Suddenly dogs begin to bark; a woman races from behind a building, and climbs a platform. Several soldiers and their leader chase her; they have “treed” her. She tosses a coonskin cap to the leader, whom she calls “Monsieur Flory.” He sends soldiers to retrieve her.
Jim climbs down into the mission and sneaks to the underground entrance. Sliding its cover aside, he descends wooden stairs into a large room. Mechanical clanking emanates from somewhere nearby. There he finds a serape and a coil of rope. Using these as an impromptu disguise, he enters the next room. There men work heavy machines under the supervision of soldiers. Several men stoke a large furnace; this is where the coal is going. Jim crosses the room to another door. Passing through it he enters a hall lit by candles. But once he closes the door, the candles go out one by one; when the last one goes out the hall goes dark. There’s a whirring and a thump and…
Jim wakes up on a bed again, with Gatita above him. Rolling quickly off the bed – remembering her last bed – Jim scolds her. She seems unhappy at her role in this affair. She takes Jim downstairs to a dining room; at one end is a sumptuous repast in front of Senor Flory – or perhaps Monsieur Flory, for the man is clearly a French officer. At the other end of the table sits the woman Flory chased earlier. She is Roxanne, and there is no food for her, despite her pleas of hunger. Gatita pushes food in front of her. She seizes it but Flory orders his guard to take it away from her, and tells Gatita she’ll take Roxanne’s place if she does it again.
Flory describes his headquarters as his Elba. He offers Jim a number of delicacies, claiming never to be an ungracious host. But for Roxanne there is nothing. Asked why he mistreated her, Flory only said that she displeased him.
Flory tells Jim this must be his finest hour, for after tomorrow, he’ll be dead. Then the guards return Jim to his cell. There, he watches as more men bring more coal into the mission. Gatita tells him the men below are from her village. All of them are held hostage. She can’t work down there so Flory assigns her other duties – like murder.
Flory soon returns and tells Jim his plans: he intends to conquer Mexico! Not for France, but for himself. He intended to reign as Napoleon IV. But the United States stopped a war in Mexico quickly. The key to that lay in the efficient rail lines. Flory, therefore, has devised a means to destroy the rail lines!
A train, clearly a model, travels some tracks. Inside a cave, another train moves onto the tracks. Fire shooting from the sides, the second train switches onto the main line and collides with the first, knocking it off the tracks. Then the machine reverses back into its cave. Flory has laid secret tracks to the main spur of the rail lines, and has devised a full-sized and working model of this ram equipped train. Equipped with a massive ram, the machine will employ extremely high steam pressure and special boilers to build up the speed it needs. Emerging at night, it will wreak havoc with the rails.
About then Artie, disguised as one of the peasants, enters the machine room. He carefully sets a bucket of booby trapped coal by the side of the furnace, tying it to make it so he’ll know it later.
Flory takes Jim outside and shows him a giant water clock. The water fills a bucket which slowly sinks, retracting a giant striker. When the bucket strikes a lever it tips, empties, and rises quickly as gravity pulls the striker back to its rest position. The striker will sail forward and sound a gong. Flory orders his men to give Jim a closer look, and they tie Jim to the gong. When the bell next tolls, it will be the last thing Jim hears.
Artie distracts the soldiers with phony peasant antics. This lets Jim use a tiny focusing mirror built into his ring to burn the rope securing his right hand. The rope smokes – one strand parts as the water bucket bumps the lever. A second strand parts, the water bucket empties, Jim jerks his hand free and spins aside as the striker crashes into the gong inches from crushing him. Artie subdues a soldier with sleeping gas built into his waterskin and then climbs the clock to help Jim free. Gatita distracts several soldiers, preventing them from attacking the agents. But Flory shoots the waterskin, releasing a huge amount of the gas. Artie and Jim fall unconscious.
When Jim and Artie awaken, they’re cuffed to a cage that houses Gatita. All three of them will be passengers on the first voyage of the ram. They’ll be able to see everything from their vantage point at the point of the ram. Until then they shovel like everyone else.
Artie shows Jim the rigged coal. Jim has Artie distract the soldiers with a speech to the peasant workers that actually rouses them to action. West cuts his chain with a mechanism in his ring and then begins stoking the furnace with the rigged coal. More soldiers arrive; the peasants and the soldiers clash. Jim has Gatita tell her people to flee, she and Artie also bolt. Only Jim remains, shoveling the last of the trick coal into the flames.
Flory struggles to his feet, pulls the door shut, and limps to the furnace. Jim and Artie have ruined his dream; the least he can do is destroy Jim. He tosses the key to the doors into the furnace and tells Jim they shall wait to die together. Jim overpowers him and races to the doors. Improvising a ram from a block and tackle and a heavy timber, he batters the doors. Flory again staggers to his feet. Picking up a shovel, he approaches Jim, who hears him at the last minute and spins the ram around. Caught off guard by the unconventional attack, Flory is knocked off his feet and into a giant flywheel – this time, it’s certain he won’t get up.
Jim finally forces the door and races through. Second later the whole hillside goes up. Artie and Gatita are sure West is dead, but he appears from the cloud of dust and they all have a joyful reunion.
Back aboard the train, Jim and Gatita drink tequila together. Artie bursts in, realizes his timing is poor, and leaves. Jim puts on some music, Gatita begins to dance, and the train pulls away… Share this article with your friends