May 31st, 1884: Eleven-year-old Enoch Thompson competes with other boys diving for gold coins off the pier. As he comes up for air, he sees Louis "the Commodore" Kaestner, showboating for tourists, tossing coins and "opening the sea" for the summer season: "We sprinkle the sea with gold, and the sea gives it back to us a hundredfold. That is the glory of this blessed strand that we call Atlantic City" Unfortunately, Enoch isn't quick enough to catch any gold coins.
Havana, 1931. Sally Wheet and Nucky dance together at her bar, while waiting for Senator Wendell Lloyd from Pennsylvania to arrive. When he finally shows, the three of them enjoy rum cocktails. Nucky, betting on Prohibition being repealed, pumps the Senator for inside information. Senator Lloyd is reluctant to work with Nucky, due to his criminal past, reminding him that Constitutional amendments don't get overturned. Nucky sets his worries at ease as Sally introduces the married Senator to a lovely Senorita willing to show him the Havana nightlife.
In the mountains of Maryland, a hollow and silent Chalky White works on a prison chain gang. Chalky, who will only admit that "getting caught" is what landed him in jail, is a frequent target of the guards' wrath. At the end of the work day, a commotion breaks out when a prisoner snaps and kills a guard with his pickaxe. In the chaos, Chalky turns a rifle on another guard, then uses the guard's keys to unshackle his leg irons. While making a break for the woods, Chalky is tackled by Milton, a simple but dangerous prisoner, who points a gun at him. Milton promises to split money he knows is in a nearby house if Chalky will "handle all the telephones and such." With no other choice, Chalky escapes with him.
New York City. At the Conors & Gould Brokerage office, Margaret's boss, Robert Bennett III, addresses his employees. He tells them about the Mickey Mouse cartoon he saw the night before and suggests they apply its message of never giving up to their own work, finishing up by saying: "it's a grand time to make money." Then, Bennett quickly takes out a gun and shoots himself dead.
1884. Young Enoch returns home to find his six-year old brother, Eli, his mother Elenore and his nine-year old sister, Susan, who is very ill. While his sister rests, Elenore gives him a magazine, ‘Golden Days for Boys and Girls,' just as his father, Ethan, comes home early from work as a bayman. Fearful of his reaction, Elenore hides the magazine from Ethan, who expresses concern about Susan. Later, Ethan shares a meal with Enoch, and viciously hits him for not catching any gold coins in the water: "You're the son of a fisherman," Ethan growls. "And what are you trying to catch?"
While waiting for Senator Lloyd the following morning, Nucky and Sally run into Meyer Lansky, who tells them he's there with his wife. They have an awkward, yet cordial exchange, then Nucky and Sally head out to the Cuban countryside with Senator Lloyd to meet with Maxime Ronis, the head of Bacardi Rum. With Senator Lloyd as political weight, Nucky informs Ronis that he has a distribution network already in place and when Prohibition is repealed, he would be capable of distributing Bacardi Rum in the United States.
Lucky Luciano and Joe Masseria have a late-day lunch at the Nuova Villa Tammaro restaurant in Coney Island. Masseria, worn, complains to Luciano about the war he is having with his rival, Salvatore Maranzano. Luciano excuses himself to the restroom as Benny Siegel and Tonino come in and shoot Masseria dead. The three men leave the restaurant -- and Masseria's bloody corpse -- behind.
1884. Enoch and the other pier boys lay in wait for tourists to arrive via the Corner Hotel's horse and wagon. A harsh sea-breeze blows the hats off the men, and the pier boys chase them down for tips. Enoch cannot find a hat and encounters New York City businessman, Pat Halligan. Taking pity on Enoch's missed opportunity for a tip, Halligan gives him two candies. After he leaves, Enoch finds Halligan's hat, along with a $50 bill hidden inside the fold. That night, while everyone sleeps, Enoch stares at the $50 bill, uncertain what to do with it. Hiding the money, he visits his Susan's bedside and gives her one of the candies, given to him from Pat Halligan.
At the Conors & Gould office, Lawrence Conors calls Margaret into his office to gain access to Bennett's files. She lies about not having the key, and after everyone leaves for the day, Margaret attempts to remove the file on "Abe Redstone." She's forced to bluff once again when an assistant finds her in Bennett's office.
That night, Luciano attends Maranzano's coronation party as the new Boss of Bosses, where Maranzano gives a speech about the future of their business. The other gangsters do not trust Luciano because of his affiliation with Masseria, but Maranzano welcomes Luciano with open arms. As a symbol of his loyalty, Luciano slices his hand, making a blood oath to Maranzano and the others. All the men in attendance follow suit, symbolizing their brotherhood and loyalty.
Following his successful meeting with Ronis, Nucky survives an assassination attempt when his bodyguard Arquimedes comes to his rescue, killing the assassin and chopping off his ear. After the chaos subsides and Nucky pays off the local authorities, he runs into Meyer Lanksy's wife. Nucky speaks to her, but she replies in Spanish; she is actually a local prostitute, not Lanksy's wife. Nucky's wheels start spinning.
1884. Enoch goes to the Corner Hotel and returns the $50 to Halligan, who is meeting with the Commodore. The Commodore bristles at Enoch's honesty, telling him "everything goes through me." He offers Enoch a gold dollar coin to sweep sand off the hotel porch. That night, Enoch gives the gold coin to his mother, while his father, sits by Susan's bedside. In his bedroom, Enoch reads ‘Golden Days for Boys and Girls' then hides it behind his pillow before going to bed.