Jabez Wilson is a pawnbroker whose store is located on Coburg Square next to a bank. He consults Sherlock Holmes about the "League of Red-Headed Men." He had been told by his employee, Vincent Spaulding, that it is a group established by a red-headed American millionaire, now dead, who had left a large amount of money for men with such hair color. Spaulding introduced Wilson to Duncan Ross who is also red-headed and the manager of the operation. All Wilson needed to do to earn the money was to spend four hours a day at an office, copying out the Encyclopedia Britannica. He did so for eight weeks, after which he found the office locked. Holmes becomes excited at Wilson’s description of Spaulding. That evening Holmes gathers Watson, Inspector Lestrade, and Mr. Merryweather, the director of the bank, to descend into the bank’s vault. They lay in wait in the dark. Soon Spaulding is seen descending into the vault. At his capture it is revealed that his actual name is John Clay, a criminal of whom Holmes is well aware. He and his compatriot, Archie, alias Duncan Ross, are arrested.