The Enterprise-D is called to assist a colony world that has suffered tricyanate contamination to its water supply. Because of this, they meet with the Jovis, a ship owned by the Zibalian trader Kivas Fajo (Saul Rubinek). Fajo, a member of the Stasius Trade Guild, is one of the few vendors of hitridium, an extremely rare medicinal compound capable of neutralizing the contamination. Because hitridium is a volatile substance that cannot be beamed aboard, Commander Data (Brent Spiner) is assigned to shuttle Fajo's cargo from the Jovis to the Enterprise, which will take several trips. Just before the final trip, the crew of the Jovis, led by Varria (Jane Daly), kidnap Data and perform a scan of his body; after filling the shuttlecraft with equivalent materials, they rig the shuttle to explode en route. The Enterprise performs a cursory scan of the debris and believe Data is dead, but due to the emergency, are forced to leave the Jovis without a more detailed study.
Data is reactivated in a secured room and is met by Fajo. The trader explains he collects rare and valuable objects and has kidnapped Data due to his uniqueness. Data remains defiant to Fajo's attempts to make him an object of display, purposely remaining silent and immobile when Fajo shows off his collection to a rival trader (Nehemiah Persoff). Only when Fajo threatens to kill Varria with the very rare and illegal Varon-T disruptor does Data agree to follow Fajo's orders.
The Enterprise arrives at the colony and use the hitridium to neutralize the contamination, but find it works far too quickly. They soon discover that someone purposely created the contamination that would require hitridium, leading the crew to suspect Fajo of staging the whole scenario to capture Data. They quickly return to the Jovis' last-known location to track Fajo down.
Varria helps Data to escape just as the Enterprise arrives near the Jovis. Fajo uses the Varon-T disruptor on Varria, destroying her without any regrets. Data picks up the Varon-T and threatens to use it on Fajo. The Enterprise suddenly beams Data back aboard, discovering that the disruptor was in the process of discharging. Data is met in the transporter room by Commander Riker, and requests that Fajo be taken into custody, with Riker responding that arrangements have already been made. When Riker asks why the disruptor was energized, Data only offers that something may have happened during transport. Fajo is placed in the Enterprise brig.
In the brig Fajo asks Data if he's happy, laminating the reversal of their situation, but says defiantly that he will add Data to his collection one day. Data informs Fajo that his stolen collection has been taken, and all his possessions returned to their rightful owners. He plainly adds that he cannot feel emotions since he is an android, leaving a stunned Fajo alone in the brig.
David Rappaport, a well-known British dwarf actor, had originally been cast for the part of Kivas Fajo. Rappaport struggled with depression in his life, and committed suicide on May 2, 1990, shortly after having filmed some scenes as Fajo. Saul Rubinek was then asked to take over the role, but some early production photographs show Rappaport in the role. Select scenes with Rappaport were included in a special In Memoriam reel on disc five of the third-season TNG Blu-ray set.
The episode's title comes from a popular saying found on bumper stickers and t-shirts in the 1980s which read, "He who dies with the most toys wins." which is originally attributed to flamboyant millionaire Malcolm Forbes.