Over 100 years before the deadly COVID-19 pandemic set off a nationwide wave of fear and anti-Asian sentiment, an outbreak of bubonic plague in San Francisco’s Chinatown unleashed a similar crisis. The death of a Chinese immigrant in 1900 would have likely gone unnoticed if a sharp-eyed medical officer hadn’t discovered a swollen black lymph node on his body — evidence of one of the world’s most feared diseases, bubonic plague. When others started dying, health officials and business leaders were torn about how to stave off an epidemic without causing panic and derailing the city’s booming economy. A fascinating medical mystery and timely examination of the tense relationship between the medical community, city powerbrokers and San Francisco’s Chinese-American community, Plague at the Golden Gate tells the gripping story of the desperate race against time to save San Francisco and the nation from the deadly plague. Based on David K. Randall’s Black Death at the Golden Gate, the film is directed by Li-Shin Yu (The Chinese Exclusion Act) and features interviews with a fascinating range of medical experts, authors and Asian-American historians.


  • Li-Shin Yu: Director
  • Cameo George: Producer
  • Susan Bellows: Producer


  • Project Type: Documentary
  • Runtime: 2 hours 1 minute
  • Film Color: Color