Kate Hawkins struggles to provide for her children in war-devastated Liverpool. As head of the house, eight-year-old Frankie helps his mother by stealing food for the table or coal for the fire. His truancy from school leads to being victimized in a series of harsh reform school settings. At sixteen, feeling estranged from his family and disillusioned by the surrounding poverty, he becomes a seaman on a Norwegian vessel. Kate fears sheall never see her Frankie Boy again when he stays in America, where dreams come true, little knowing the struggles he endures traveling across the country. Hope rises with his promise to return with his wife and baby son from San Francisco, but marital conflict destroys the planned reunion. Upon the news of his motheras death, he takes the sorrowful journey homea]yet the triumph of his motheras spirit will live forever in the memory of her son.