From his quiet farm home in the north of Scotland, young James Gordon Cowen dreamed of more than just a life tending sheep. When he's offered the opportunity to join a Nantucket whaling crew, he signs on to set out for a new life. On the journey, the young boy becomes a man as he experiences the worst the North Sea can throw at him. He also comes to know the meaning of true friendship.
On board, he and a new friend dive into life on the high seas, riding out ferocious deep-water storms in pursuit of the whale harvest. From the beautiful shores of Brazil to the mountains of New Caledonia, the crew battles the elements in search of their own goals. Once in America, they find themselves in the middle of Mexican conflict while on a wagon train on the Oregon Trail. They try their hands at fur trapping and gold mining as they attempt to secure their share of the frontier's bounty and do their best to avoid encounters with the dreaded Redcoats. With hope the only thing that keeps them going some days, James and his companion clamber up out of a life of poverty to build new lives for their families in the New Land.
Through it all, their friendship only grows deeper. It's all put to the test when they make the final push across the Great Divide. In the New World, they find that they must make their own fate.