The victorious James Buchanan sits under a trellis of grape vines, holding reports of election returns on his lap. He reflects, "What a happy morning for my country and myself. Here I find returns for myself & my Kentucky brother [running mate John C. Breckinridge]--beginning with Maine in the North & concluding with Texas in the South. What welcome news to know that the People have not removed a plank of the Democratic Platform. Who will dare breathe Disunion now?" Before him on the ground lie scythes, a shovel, and a pickax; a plough rests nearby. Behind him ripe wheat is visible.
On the left, past a low fence, four New York newspaper editors run forward holding up bills for large sums of money. They are a bearded "German editor," Horace Greeley, James Gordon Bennett, and James Watson Webb--frustrated supporters of John C. Fremont, who rides off in the distance saying, "I'm off to Mariposa--Like a foolish fellow, you Editors made me believe papers could do all things--The people you see have used us up. When I get to my gold regions & "back again," I'll pay you "in a horn."" Mosquitoes swarm around him.
At right Millard Fillmore emerges from the mouth of a cavern, holding a lantern (a nativist symbol). He confronts Know Nothing founder "Ned Buntline" (Edward Zane Carroll Judson), a bearded man with two pistols at his waist. Fillmore complains, "Oh! Ned! Ned! This is all of your doing. After being a popular Whig President--and walking in the footsteps of Clay, Webster & Cass. I am thrown back by the People into the dark & gloomy caverns of Know Nothingism."