Away for 7 years, Derringer returns to save his mansion from New Orleans' carpetbagging Reconstruction overlord. Yancy Derringer's former belle Amanda also tells Derringer she posed as his wife to keep the Waverly from rapacious Yankees. The destitute Yancy, who fought for the Confederacy but now champions peaceful reunification, is trailed down the Mississippi by 3 vengeful card cheats. Guarding gentleman adventurer Yancy is his mute friend Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah who previously saved the daredevil's life. The Pawnee warrior's deadly with scatter gun and throwing knife, both...
Detonating the world's toughest waterfront is Yancy's secret assignment from the Big Easy's Reconstruction administrator. Against his best enemy, vice lord Toby Cook, owner of the Jumping Jack casino, Yancy hides an explosive trick up his sleeve - the tiny, noble sea captain of a ship crammed with the latest invention from Sweden. Backing up the unlikely duo is the silent, lethal Pahoo.
After overland raiders seize an Army payroll, Yancy's riverboat hauls the next shipment. Complicating Yancy's assignment is Billie Jo James, who's so female her father tried to tone her down with 3 male names. Billie flips her wig over Yancy, but even aboard Yancy's Mississippi queen ensconced in his usual cabin for Southern belles, she keeps throwing herself in Yancy's path and her back-story doesn't hold bilge water. Could she have a brother named Jesse?
When a tombstone & funeral wreath are delivered to Administrator Colton, Yancy has 24 hours to prevent Colton's being killed by the South's ace duelist, Spade Stuart. Colton's in an especially vulnerable situation, because he's absorbed with impressing a beautiful visitor from Boston, who's a friend of his sister.
Madame Francine's girl midget cousin keeps being drug back to a mysterious black freighter from China, The Murphy Brown, supposedly only containing the finest silk. Reconstruction administrator Colton suspects smuggling, but lacks evidence so he assigns Derringer and Pahoo to use not-quite-legal methods to investigate, and to protect the adorable, pug-nosed Irish waif Gidget from being silenced.
New Orleans' underworld conspires to rub out post-Civil War administrator Colton, right when Colton's sister Agatha finally arrives on a visit. Yancy expected a Boston battle-ax, but he's smitten with her charm and wit. Colton has a heavy workload, fending off crime czar Lance Carter, and wowing Agatha with his Reconstruction wizardry, while throwing a blockade between her and Yancy.
Mr. Proctor is shot, and Yancy finds a Confederate half dollar in his dying hand. After traveling by horseback to a plantation mansion in Baton Rouge, Yancy learns of the (supposed) sudden death of General Stafford. However, the General is actually still alive, and his coffin instead contains a horde of $500,000 worth of silver and gold bullion, sent from Richmond (originally intended, evidently, for the production in New Orleans, of Confederate coins). The grand-daughter Gloria is engaged to marry the suspicious Earl Bartley. Yancy looks for clues, but is interrupted...
Colton asks Yancy to investigate counterfeit money that's being passed throughout the French Quarter. His investigation brings him into contact with Lonesome Jackson, a Virginia City miner who recently struck in rich and came to New Orleans seeking a wife. The Treasury Department suspects Jackson because of the large bankroll he's carrying, but Yancy believes that the miner is being set up as a patsy by the real counterfeiters.
Yancy investigates when several shopkeepers along Duquense Street are paid twice as much as their property is worth, and are subsequently robbed and murdered. He learns that a projected railroad spur is to be built to the waterfront through that shopping district and unscrupulous Northerners plan to use illegal means to grab all the available real estate before the project is officially announced.
Derringer is falsely accused of complicity in a waterfront property theft. Administer Colton manages to get Matthew Younger to drop the charges, but Yancy decides the insurance man may be throwing charges around to hide the real perpetrators. His investigations lead him to a waterfront dive and its grave-robbing habitués and ultimately to a midnight assignation in a New Orleans cemetery to gather proof of the insurance scam.
Christmas in New Orleans may not be particularly festive in the Derringer household this year, since Yancy's Uncle Henry Spinner, a government engraver, has been murdered and the plates for the new hundred-dollar greenback he was designing have disappeared. While Yancy searches for the murderer, his old hound-dog Dixie shows up at this family seat along with the news that the dog is the only one who can lead Yancy to where the family treasure is buried. The episode ends with an impromptu Christmas party attended by most of the series' recurring characters.
Yancy's plans for a quiet evening gambling at Madame Francine's are ruined by Romilly Vale, a vengeance-crazed blonde who empties who revolver in his general direction. After recovering from the knock on the head administered by Francine, she realizes that the Yancy Derriger she wished to kill was another man entirely - an impostor who stole her family fortune. Yancy's attempt to find the impostor are short-circuited when he's arrested for the bank robbery and murder perpetrated by men dressed as Yancy and Pahoo.
A madman steals ten cases of dynamite from the arsenal and announces his intention of reducing New Orleans to rubble. As explosions rock the city, Yancy, Colton and Captain Fry step up their efforts to find the bomber and his ammunition.
Pretty Coco LaSalle, a female pirate, attacks and robs Yancy's riverboat. The most important object stolen was a diamond necklace belonging to the government of Mexico. Yancy agrees to help John Colton recover the jewelry and learns that Coco's price is very reasonable - that Derringer escort her to the masked ball for Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, one of LaSalle's men is unhappy with the bargain and is determined to steal the necklace from the pirate queen before the jewelry can be returned to its rightful owner.
A protection racket is attempting to gain control of the French Market. Administrator Colton is helpless because no one will step forward with an official accusation, because the merchants are terrified after one of Miss Duval's servants is killed trying to prevent her flower stand from being destroyed. Yancy and Pahoo decide to help the stall owners battle the thugs.
Hard-partying heir to the Russian throne breezes into the Big Easy but assassins offer uncharacteristic Southern hospitality. The Reconstruction authorities implore Yancy & Pahoo to protect the tiny hothead, however containing the trigger-happy, girl-crazy future czar in wild post-Civil War New Orleans won't be an easy assignment.
The winner of New Orleans' $100,000 lottery is murdered, but the lottery administrator is convinced he was the target of the gunmen. Yancy plots to force the killer to reveal who hired him and, hopefully, whether the lottery itself is really on the level by rounding up the Bourbon Street riffraff to act like a lynch mob.
Caped clown pummeling ladies for their braids panics New Orleans. A Justice League ultimatums the Federal occupation force stop the crime wave or withdraw, so they can execute vigilante action. This immoral minority led by a carpetbagger from Providence, targets pro gambler Yancy's activities too. Ex-Confederate officer/Southern gentleman Yancy opposes mob justice, so he and the deadly Pahoo protect French Quarter womenfolk while pursuing the clown-masked madman.
With the Mississippi River rising towards a record flood, the only thing that could save New Orleans would be to punch a whole in a levee up-river. Such an action would inundate Lady Charity's new plantation and she and her men aren't willing to allow the government to take the necessary action. Worse, an escaped convict and his stolen Gatling gun have become her strange allies.
Yancy wins a half-share of a Virginia City silver mine and must immediately utilize its assets when the boiler on his riverboat blows up. His new partner explains that the mine played out years ago, but Yancy decides to explore the old diggings and discovers that the workers from a neighboring mine have borrowed into his and are stealing valuable ore. He also discovers that the neighboring mine owner has framed him for murdering his lovely partner.
Bow & arrow attack on Custer jails Pahoo, giving Yancy more reason to hate his equally foppish, former Civil War foe. Custer pooh-poohs Yancy's explanation that the weapons are from a different tribe than Pahoo's Pawnees. Publicity-mad Custer is visiting New Orleans while on 1 year court-martial suspension, hoping to win support of the occupying Yankee military administrator for a quick return to frontier genocide. The lethal Pahoo's being a speech-impaired Native American puts him at a disadvantage to the fearless, cinnamon-hair-oiled General.
When Mississippi riverboats sink in record numbers, Yancy investigates whether aggressive Gilded Age monopolizer Emerson lurks behind the crime waves. The Southern Belle, owned by a fiery redhead, is the latest victim, but she opposes rival paddle-wheel master Yancy's tactics, which center on someone marking false twain to cause shipwrecks.
Yancy is arrested on a charge of high treason. His crime: selling John Wilkes Booth the gun that killed President Abraham Lincoln. While Derringer is held in solitary confinement, his friends must refute forged evidence and find where the his matched set of pistols, the ones alleged purchased by Booth, were hidden when renegades ransacked his plantation during the Civil War.
Yancy is forced to reimburse four gamblers when their high-stakes poker game on his riverboat is robbed by a pair of beautiful thieves. Derringer traces the blonde crooks to an old mansion where he learns that the pair were targeting pickpockets, crooked gamblers and thieves to pay for a half-dozen orphans that Elsie Tulliver had adopted. Yancy arranges for photographer Mathew Brady and pickpocket Jody Barker to help him with a scheme to raise money for Elsie's children.
When renegades attack peaceful Pawnee villages, Pahoo, Yancy and Colorado Charlie travel to Washington, D.C. with John Colton's letter of introduction to try to enforce the terms of government's treaty with the tribe. An administrator of the War Department, along with his gunrunning crony, attempt to obstruct Pahoo's mission by taking political, social and violent steps against him.
Yancy agrees to "shoot" Charles LeBow in a fake duel in order to smoke out the man who's trying to kill LeBow for real. When, at the "funeral", the body of LeBow's partner is discovered in what should have been LeBow's empty coffin, the City Administrator doubts Yancy's tale and plans to lock him in prison as a material witness. Yancy has other ideas, however.
Pirate queen Coco LaSalle convinces Yancy to back her fighter against the mighty heavyweight called the Tennessee Slasher. While Derringer organizes the illegal fight away from the city administrator's prying eyes, he also searches for a cache of Spencer repeating rifles recently stolen from the federal armory at Port Hudson.
When John Colton is promoted and ordered back to Washington, General Wheeler takes his place with orders to break up a nation-wide counterfeiting gang that is based in New Orleans. Yancy objects to the general's tactics of raiding every gambling house in the Crescent City and impounding their patrons' money until it can be combed for bogus bills and is thrown in jail. Even locked in a cell Derringer manages to learn that the source of the phony currency is a criminal gang masquerading as army officers.
Yancy receives an urgent letter from a friend who once saved his life and his now on trial for a murder he didn't commit. He, Pahoo and Colorado Charlie travel to Missouri and learn that Jesse James has framed his friend for the crime. By the time Yance and his friends arrive, he has only 24 hours to prove that his friend has been falsely convicted.
While walking to Madame Francine's to meet with a committee of African-Americans, John Colton is disconcerted when he notices that all the clubs and shops and closed and no one else is on the street. From Obadiah and Lily Rose, he learns that a murder will be committed that night, on St. John's Eve, and voodoo would be used to cover the crime. Colton learns that Charles Hammond, a visitor to New Orleans has received a voodoo doll. When Colton discovers that a voodoo rite is being held on the old Dubois plantation and Hammond is engaged to the younger Dubois sister, ...
Yancy's plans to visit his silver mine in Virginia City are abruptly changed when Mei Ling, aka Miss Mandarin, is arrested for opium smuggling. She claims she ordered firecrackers from San Francisco and someone substituted the drug en route. Even though the New Orleans federal administrator believes he has an open and shut case, Yancy agrees to travel to California and investigate the shipping company.
Yancy wins two tickets to Promintory, Utah, to attend the celebration where the transcontinental railroad would be linked. He learns that conspirators representing freight lines and stagecoaches plan to destroy one of the trains in order to continue providing their slower, more expensive service and his name has been used to purchase the dynamite that will be used to create the disaster.