What changes have occurred in the twenty years since the two friends had met in "After Twenty Years"?
In the twenty years since the two friends ate at "Big Joe" Brady's Restaurant, much has changed. For one thing, the restaurant is no longer in business as of five years ago. Instead, there is a hardware store in whose doorway "Silky" Bob lights the fateful cigar. He, too, has great changed. He has gone West and profited from his ventures. Unfortunately, however, these ventures have not all been legal. "Silky" Bob is a wanted man.
The other friend ironically turns out to be the policeman on the beat to whom "Silky" Bob has spoken as he waits in the doorway. Still a friend, the policeman cannot bring himself to arrest "Silky" Bob, so he sends a plainclothes man to do the task. When Bob realizes that "Jimmy" is not really his old friend, the man hands him a letter from Jimmy. While Bob has changed, Jimmy has not. He is still "the truest staunchest old chap in the world."