The Sand Pebbles (1966) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • Engineer Jake Holman arrives aboard the gunboat U.S.S. San Pablo, assigned to patrol a tributary of the Yangtze in the middle of exploited and revolution-torn 1926 China. His iconoclasm and cynical nature soon clash with the "rice-bowl" system which runs the ship and the uneasy symbiosis between Chinese and foreigner on the river. Hostility towards the gunboat's presence reaches a climax when the boat must crash through a river-boom and rescue missionaries upriver at China Light Mission.

    - Written by Martin H. Booda <booda@datasync.com>
  • 1926. China is the middle of a revolution. US, British and French gunboats patrol the rivers, but are meant to be neutral in the conflict, though this does not stop them from being attacked. Onto one such US gunboat, the USS San Pablo ("Sand Pebble" to its crew) steps Petty Officer Jake Holman, newly-appointed chief engineer.

    - Written by grantss
  • In 1926, U.S. naval engineer Jake Holman is assigned to the gun boat U.S.S. San Pablo - nicknamed the Sand Pebble - this being the latest in a very long string of assignments due to a unyielding view of his work leading to conflicts with many of his colleagues and ship captains. Life on the Sand Pebble is no different. The Sand Pebble is patrolling the interior waters of China, where the the U.S. government is trying to protect its interests in the face of Nationalist and Communist battles against the feudal warlords. On board the Sand Pebble, Holman must deal with a captain whose wants often do not match what Holman can carry out. Ultimately the Sand Pebble is placed under quiet siege by the Chinese who are using this action as a symbol of the unwanted U.S. presence. Holman is implicated in an incident which could cause the start of an "all out" war, and as such places him in a bad position with his shipmates. Amidst all this turmoil, two romances occur, the first between Holman's colleague, good-hearted Frenchy Burgoyne and a slave girl named Maily, and the second between Holman and missionary schoolteacher, Shirley Eckert. Both romances face major obstacles.

    - Written by Huggo


For troubled hero Jake Holman (Steve "Lightning" McQueen), no good deed goes unpunished. Transferred in 1926 to the U.S.S...

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