Protagonist Harvey Cheyne, Jr., is the son of a wealthy railroad magnate and his wife, in San Diego, California. Washed overboard from a transatlantic steamship and rescued by fishermen off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Harvey can neither persuade them to take him quickly to port, nor convince them of his wealth. Harvey accuses the captain, Disko Troop of taking his money (which we later learn was found on the deck he fell from.) Disko Troop, captain of the We're Here, bloodies his nose but takes him in as a boy on the crew until they return to port. Harvey comes to accept his situation.