A millionaire named H. Ferguson Hedges got into a heated argument with his friend Ralph Merriam, which resulted in Merriam shooting Hedges in the chest.
Believing he had killed Hedges, Merriam fled to La Paz, a small coastal town, to escape the consequences of his actions.
‘Brace up, old chap,’ he said. ‘The ambulance got there just as I did. The doctor says he’s dead. You may have one more drink. You let me run this thing for you. You’ve got to skip. I don’t believe a chair is legally a deadly weapon. You’ve got to make tracks, that’s all there is to it.’
There, he met and fell in love with a woman named Florence Conant, who confessed to him that she had poisoned her abusive husband and was now living in hiding.
The two found solace in each other's company and planned to marry, despite their dark pasts.
One day, a steamer arrived in La Paz, and to Merriam's shock, Hedges was among the passengers. Hedges revealed that he had survived the shooting and had been searching for Merriam to reconcile. Meanwhile, Florence received a newspaper that reported her husband had successfully filed for divorce, citing her disappearance. Realizing that she had not actually killed her husband, Florence decided to leave La Paz and return to her old life.
Florence devised a plan to see Merriam one last time before her departure. She asked the hotel owner, Tio Pancho, to call Merriam out so she could speak with him.
‘Tio Pancho,’ she said, with a charming smile, ‘may I trouble you to ask Mr. Merriam to come out for just a few moments that I may speak with him?’
Tio Pancho bowed as an elephant bows.
‘Buenas tardes, Señora Conant,’ he said, as a cavalier talks. And then he went on, less at his ease:
‘But does not the señora know that Señor Merriam sailed on the Pajaro for Panama at three o’clock of this afternoon?’
However, Tio Pancho informed her that Merriam had already left on the steamer with Hedges, bound for Panama.