Engineer Kaylee (Jewel Staite) complains that Doctor Simon Tam (Sean Maher) never uses swear words, though he insists he does so when they are appropriate. Companion Inara (Morena Baccarin) leaves in her shuttle for an overnight meeting with a client. Jayne (Adam Baldwin) tries to smuggle a concealed weapon to Serenity’s next planetfall, because he has been there before, but Captain Mal Reynolds (Jason Fillion) makes him leave it behind.
The crew lands at the town of Canton on Higgins’ Moon, disguised as dealers in a special ceramic material called Mud. Years ago, Jayne robbed the local magistrate and faces reprisal. But they find a statue of Jayne called Hero of Canton. A local song refers to him as a Robin Hood character. During his botched robbery, it seems, he had to jettison the money to get away, and it rained down upon the poverty-stricken town. Jayne is idolized by all the locals. Mal’s smuggling contact is horrified by this publicity, but Mal uses the distraction to sneak the contraband through town.
Inara meets with the Magistrate (Gregory Itzin), who introduces his 26-year-old virgin son Fess (Zachary Kranzler), asking her to make a man of him. She reassures the young man that he must be his own man. On the ship, River (Summer Glau) dismantles Shepherd Book’s Bible, in an attempt to fix it to make sense. Book calms her down and explains that the book is not about making sense, but about fixing people.
When the Foreman (Jordan Lund) informs the Magistrate that Jayne Cobb has returned, the Magistrate releases a fellow named Stitch (Kevin Gage) from jail. The man has been in solitary confinement in a small cage for four years. The Magistrate gives him a gun and tells him Jayne is back. Inara prepares to return to the ship. Fess confesses he doesn’t feel different, now that he has had sex. She explains that to be a man is to ask what it is to be man. In turn, Fess tells her Jayne is about to be captured and tried, and the ship is in lockdown.
Mal returns for Kaylee and Simon, who are asleep together. Though Simon insists nothing happened, he manages to insult Kaylee again. They pick up the tipsy Jayne and Kaylee leaves Simon behind. Stitch arrives and brutalizes the Doctor to find out where Jayne is. The sound of the adoring crowd gives his location away and stitch takes Simon to use as a hostage when he confronts Jayne. Stitch tells the people that he and Jayne stole the money. When they had to lighten the load of their getaway vehicle, Jayne threw Stitch overboard first, then the safe with the money. Stitch fires his gun at Jayne, but a kid (Daniel Bess) throws himself in front of Jayne, dying to save him. Jayne kills Stitch but doesn’t understand why the poor kid did that.
They return to the ship, but it is locked down. But young Fess proves himself a man by defying his father and frees them. Kaylee gives Simon a hard time for a while, but then has a heart-to-heart talk with him. Mal tells Jayne that hero worship is not about the hero, but about what the worshippers need. But it still makes no sense to Jayne.
The song about Jayne borrows a lot from the Ballad of Jesse James. Adam Baldwin stole the head of his statue and then had to return it for additional shooting. This episode is beloved by Firefly fans because of the big musical number and the humor. And we don’t get a lot of emotional development from Jayne. Kaylee and Simon are also wonderful. The secondary characters shine throughout.