The game starts with Carl Johnson loading his suitcase onto the baggage carousel at Francis International Airport in Liberty City saying it is time to go back home after living in Liberty City for five years. As Carl retrieves his suitcase at the Los Santos International Airport arrivals lounge, he receives a phonecall from his estranged brother Sweet Johnson, who tells him that their mother is dead.
Tenpenny threatens Carl to frame him for the murder of LSPD officer Ralph Pendelbury (which was actually committed by Hernandez when he was forced to do so by Tenpenny and Pulaski). Tenpenny tells Carl that he will be watching him. The officers then throw Carl out of the car in Jefferson, a territory of Ballas. The game then instructs Carl to get on the BMX parked nearby and make his way back to Grove Street.
No actual mission takes place after the cutscene, but the game instructs the player to:
Get on the BMX bicycle.
Follow the "CJ" icon on the map and go to Johnson House in Grove Street.
Reaching Grove Street
The mission ends when the cutscene ends. The game instructs the player to reach Grove Street, but it is not part of the mission.
Once the cutscene ends, CJ will be in an alleyway in Jefferson with a BMX parked nearby. Either get on the BMX as the game tells or take any other vehicle and get back to CJ's home (denoted by the "CJ" icon on the radar) in Grove Street.
The game will instruct the player on how to ride the BMX. The controls are same for other land vehicles. The easiest route to reach Grove Street is by following the railway line.
Once CJ reaches Grove Street, walk into the mission marker in front of the Johnson House to play the first mission, Big Smoke.
GTA San Andreas - iPad Walkthrough - Intro & Mission 1 - Big Smoke, Sweet & Kendl (HD)
In the PC version, if the host computer is not running at around 25-30 frames per second, Tenpenny will drive on before the train has passed the level crossing, causing the police car to pass through the train.
The police car driven by Pulaski in the cutscene is not the same model as the regular LSPD car. In the PC version, the car does not have specular reflection, causing it to look much darker than a normal LSPD car. Also the wheels are copied from GTA III/VC, the license plate is blank, and the rear lights are black for some reason.
In the Pre-release screenshot Carl Johnson was changed and when the Taxi was stopped by C.R.A.S.H there appear to be three Grove Street members seeing the arrest but in the final version it was cut and there were no Grove Street members.
Due to the fact that 'In the Beginning' is not considered to be a mission by the game, the player is free to explore Los Santos after the cutscenes conclude. Players are able to gather money and weapons, purchase several safehouses and even work on increasing their stats.
The name of this mission is not usually displayed in-game. It can be seen by collecting enough money to buy a safehouse, and saving the game. The save file will display "In The Beginning".
The woman at the airport who takes Carl's suitcase has very low texture details.
Carl's line, "You can't leave me here - it's Ballas' country!" is a reference to Duke's line in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, "We can't stop here, this is bat country."
This is also reference to Menace II Society, where cops leaves Sharif and Caine on Mexican gang' territory.