Josefa, a young Mexican who works the bar, and Ah Sing, a vivacious young Chinese prostitute, voice a more sober view of life. Joe romances Ah Sing with a corny old song. She sizes him up and decides he is the perfect man to help her realize her future ambitions. Panicking in the face of her expectations, Joe runs out into the night.
Scene 3: Late Night at the Empire The miners are addicted to gambling, making fortunes, and hopelessly ruining themselves, night after night. Ramón and Josefa work the tables. He deals, she is there to attract the crowd: “Without a girl, there can be no hotel, without a beautiful one, there can be no business.”
Joe is a particularly drunk, aggressive customer and his crude advances towards Josefa trigger an ugly incident. Josefa and Ramón remember an afternoon far outside the city when their love was dangerous, fresh, and unobserved.
Scene 5: Coronation Dinner Shirley describes her tiny, primitive log cabin, royally appointed with discarded cans, bottles, boards, and claret cases. Ah Sing appears in a new dress, in a new apartment.