In this documentary on seafaring in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the weathered crews who sailed from New York to San Francisco come alive again. Focusing on the dangerous and often fatal voyage around Cape Horn in South America, the film goes back in time using previously unseen, 1920s footage. The story moves from the empty graves of sailors lost at sea to the hulks of shipwrecks in the Falkland Islands. As a graphic example of the hazards of this long journey, the ill-fated maiden voyage of the sunken "St. Mary" is recounted in detail. The theme of unflagging devotion to ships and sailing runs throughout and is echoed in the dedication of the craftsmen in New England who practice the forgotten art of shipbuilding -- no matter that the ships have died along with their era. The soundtrack, the interaction of historical and modern footage, and the restrained narration create an evocative context for this intriguing look at a particular page in nautical history.
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