Most mid-19th-century Mississippi River boys dreamed of occupying that pinnacle of power and glamour, the pilot house of a riverboat. In a riot of local color, this film tells how, unlike many, Sam's dream comes true. A callow teenager, he talks the tough but consummate Horace Bixby into making him his apprentice on the "Paul Jones," eventually following him to the much finer "Aleck Scott." Meanwhile, he is already spinning fantastic yarns to everyone from awe-struck lads ashore, to fellow "cub pilots", to young lady passengers who catch his eye. Things temporarily take a turn for the worse when Bixby must attend a meeting and leave Sam to work under Brown, a dour tyrant with a grudge against him. Written by
Paul Emmons <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Did You Know?
The pleasure steamboat Julia Belle Swain of Peoria, Illinois was refitted to look like an 1850s riverboat to appear in the film. See more
When I was a boy, my comrades and I had one permanent ambition - to be a steamboat man. Boy after boy managed to get on the river. By and by I ran away too. Said I could never come home until I was a pilot and come home in glory. I tell you, I love this profession. I take a measureless pride in it. The pilot on a steamboat is the only unfettered, entirely independent human being to walk the face of the earth. She cuts her own course, too, the river. There's a glory to her. She'll take a man any...