A covered wagon makes its way through a shallow river. When a band of men on horseback stops it to demand its cargo, the driver Jayne and his "wife" Mal pull their weapons on the bandits and quickly defeat them with the help of Zoe. At a celebration party that night, Mal dances with a beautiful young woman, who gives him a wreath and wine, as an old man gives Jayne a rain stick made from wood.
After Serenity is underway again, Mal encounters the young woman in the cargo bay. She informs him that she is now his wife. Zoe calls the entire crew down to enjoy the moment. Shepherd Book reads up on the local customs and informs Mal that he had taken part in a marriage ritual by accepting a wreath of flowers, drinking of her wine, and dancing together. It's "the marriage ceremony of the Triumph settlers."
Mal has a heart-to-heart talk with the woman, who identifies herself as Saffron. Despite Mal's encouragement to be her own woman, Saffron cooks him a meal as Zoe looks on in mocking disbelief. After eating, Mal escapes an offer to have his feet washed and visits Inara, who also shows contempt for Mal's treatment of the situation. Jayne attempts to trade his favorite gun, named Vera, for Saffron, but Mal turns him down.
Zoe and Wash continue to argue about Saffron. When Mal enters his quarters later, he is seduced by Saffron, whose lipstick contains a narcotic. As Mal succumbs to unconsciousness, Saffron tries her wiles on Wash, who is in the cockpit. After trying unsuccessfully to seduce Wash, Saffron knocks him out with a kick to the back of his head. She subsequently takes control of the ship, welding the door shut behind her as she leaves. Running to a shuttle to escape, she meets Inara and tries to seduce her too. Inara plays along with her to try to get her to her shuttle, but the alarm goes off and Inara remarks how skillful Saffron is at lying. After dodging a kick from Saffron, Inara rushes to Mal after Saffron says she is Malcolm Reynolds' widow. After Inara finds him alive, but unconscious, she kisses him, then collapses soon after calling for help, sharing Mal's moment of 'weakness.'
After breaking into the bridge, Kaylee and Wash find that the ship is headed straight for an electric net. Book explains, with a mysterious knowledge of criminal activity, that the net will restrain the craft but kill everyone inside. Jayne shoots the structure with his favorite gun, shorting it out, and Serenity passes through the net unharmed. After disabling the net, Jayne fires at the window of the net's crew compartment, causing it to rupture and killing the net's two operators.
Later, on a snowy world, Mal bursts into Saffron's cabin and, after an unsuccessful attempt to get some answers, knocks her unconscious. Back on Serenity, Mal presses Inara for an explanation of her supposed dizziness. Inara thinks Mal knows about the kiss and agrees to "not play" with him, but Mal thinks that she's admitting to kissing Saffron.