The Phantom Stranger teases the tale about to unfold. Lawrence Capehart III, and his secretary, Carolyn Tiegs, are on a quest, in Africa. After two weeks, Capehart III finds what he has been looking for, the lost treasure of the Nazis. At the end of the war, the Germans tried to ship their vast treasury out of the country. The plane carrying the gold was lost over Africa. Now, three decades later, it has been discovered by Capehart III. Lost in thought, Tiegs is nearly attacked by a venomous snake.
The Phantom Stranger prevents Tiegs from coming to harm, but warns her that the true danger to her comes from within. Capehart III confronts the Phantom Stranger. Capehart III grabs at the Phantom Stranger's cloak, only to find himself holding onto rotted canvas, from the plane wreckage. The Phantom Stranger has vanished. Setting up camp for the night, Capehart III makes an unwelcome advance on Tiegs. Grabbing Tiegs' wrist, Capehart III accidentally causes her to spill scalding hot coffee on his outfit, though only Tiegs sustains a burn.
Gathering what gold they can carry, Capehart III, with Tiegs, heads back to civilization. Capehart III walks right into quicksand. Capehart III screams at Tiegs to throw him a rope. When the rope falls short, Capehart III angrily berates Tiegs for her many inadequacies. When Capehart III threatens to fire her, something inside Tiegs snaps. Tiegs withdraws the rope, and leaves Capehart III to his fate. The Phantom Stranger confronts Tiegs. His cryptic warnings fall on deaf ears.
Tiegs intends to return to civilization, with the gold, where she will use it to change her life. Tiegs dreams of a life where she will no longer be marginalized due to her gender. Inexperienced in jungle survival, Tiegs becomes lost. The Phantom Stranger confronts Tiegs again. The Phantom Stranger tells Tiegs that her salvation lies in letting go of her greed. Tiegs refuses to part with the gold. Tiegs falls prey to a jungle fever. As she makes her way through the jungle, Tiegs begins leaving some of the gold behind, to lighten her load.
Finally, all Tiegs has left is one gold bar.The strain finally catches up to Tiegs, who suffers a heart attack, and dies. The last gold bar slips from her lifeless hands, and rolls down a hill. A young African tribesman discovers the gold bar, becoming immediately enamored by it. His grandfather points out that the boy cannot eat the bar, wear the bar, or hunt with the bar. Therefore, the bar is worthless. The boy puts the bar down, and continues on his way, with his grandfather.
Howard Lunge, using the world's most sophisticated computer, has embarked on a criminal enterprise, designated "Operation Frame Up". Lunge's most recent murder for hire/ frame up caper, has attracted the attention of the Black Orchid. Though the Black Orchid was not able to garner evidence to clear Lunge's latest frame up victim, Lunge was forced to murder one of his own men, to maintain his operation's security, Nonetheless, the Black Orchid seems to know everything about Lunge's business. The Black Orchid has threatened to expose Lunge, if Joel Dubbish is not cleared, for a murder he did not commit.
Lunge asks his computer to reveal the Black Orchid's secret identity. The computer cannot provide an answer. The computer does assure Lunge that the Black Orchid poses no threat to his operation. The computer also reveals that the Black Orchid has been viewing it's data files, via x-rays. Lunge meets with Cleo Barry, a new client. Barry wants her mother-in-law assassinated. Lunge asks the computer to provide the perfect assassination scheme, as well as a patsy to frame for the crime. Lunge's man, Oscar, is equipped with a life mask of the old woman, as well as her clothes, so that he may impersonate her.
Lunge's other associate, Harold, is tasked with distracting the old woman's nurse, McHenry. Harold poses as Horace Jenkins, a parks and agriculture agent. "Jenkins" escorts McHenry around the property, pointing out elm disease on the trees. McHenry enters a garage, to search for an appropriate spray, to fight the tree rot. Harold signals Oscar that the coast is clear. Oscar heads up to the old woman's room, to inject her with poison. The old woman, however, turns out to be a sophisticated robot, that subdues Oscar. Harold enters the garage, looking for McHenry.
Harold finds a life mask of McHenry, laying on the garage floor. The Black Orchid subdues Harold. Lunge receives word that the deed has been done. Lunge goes to pick up his $50,000.00 fee. At the bus terminal, Lunge is arrested. The police have impounded Lunge's computer, and discovered the evidence required to clear Dubbish. Lunge is at a loss to explain his computer's failure. X-ray exposure, however, has compromised the computer's systems. Lunge fingers Barry as a co-conspiritor. Suddenly, the Black Orchid drops a life mask of Barry on the ground, in front of Lunge. There never was a Cleo Barry.