Scene summaries may contain spoilers
En route to San Francisco, Nellie talks with Reverend Blackwell, who is travelling incognito to avoid being asked to read services. Nellie is disappointed to find that they haven't advanced since yesterday. She berates the captain who blames the storm, but promises to get them moving forwards again.
Overnight, Nellie finds the crew planning to throw her pet monkey overboard because they believe he's causing the storms. The captain intervenes and they negotiate a rest for the stokers until the storm breaks. The monkey is returned to Nellie.
The ship reaches San Francisco and passengers are checked by the quarantine officer. Nellie hears about a snow blockade which has made her intended route impassable, but also finds out that Elizabeth Bisland missed her ship in France and has been delayed. Nellie heads ashore at once.
Nellie's newspaper has chartered a steam train to take her to New York. With only an engine and sleeping car, they should be able to travel more quickly. She receives a cable from Jules Verne, and one from Elizabeth Bisland which she does not read. The train engineer says that Elizabeth missed her ship because someone lied to her about the screw being broken, and she had to take a slower ship. But Nellie needs to beat the original ship, or people will accuse her of cheating and won't respect her victory. A crowd cheers for Nellie as the train begins its departure.
Nellie reads the message from her rival, which makes her more determined to win. She'll need to arrive eight hours before the ship Elizabeth was supposed to be on to prove she truly won. Nellie takes over the train and pushes it as fast as it can go.
In Dodge City, Nellie sends a cable to Elizabeth Bisland, saying she isn't responsible for her missing the steamship and will win fair and square.
Nellie speaks to the press as the train draws into Jersey City, the final stop. She opens the door, jumps onto the platform, and wins the race with a time of seventy-two days and six hours, a new world record!
Nellie reunites with her family, and gifts the monkey to her niece. Her sister asks about Elizabeth Bisland, and Nellie insists that she doesn't care. Nellie Bly has no knowledge of the word 'fail'.