A small Newfoundland whaling community holds a church service for lost whalers. In the church yard lie the gravestones of those who have drowned while whaling. The church walls are covered with murals depicting the whaling experience. When the Gonzales family, Portuguese immigrants, cross the church door, one of the whalers forbids them entry, until Tommy, a master harpoonist who loves daughter Rosita Gonzales, allows them to enter. Rosita's younger brother Pedro is a cripple on crutches. The preacher and Tommy's older brother Leonard, a doctor, promise to help Pedro walk again. Tommy and Rosita become engaged, but when Leonard heals Pedro, she falls in love with him. Tommy then loses his arm in a whaling accident. His grief is compounded when, at their engagement party, Rosita breaks with him. Tommy, in a self-sacrificing mood, goes out on a whaling expedition, even though he has lost his good harpooning arm. During the expedition, Tommy successfully harpoons a whale, but when its mate arrives to rescue it, the mate capsizes the boat. Leonard and Tommy nearly drown and are stranded on a bed of rocks. While Leonard swims to shore for help, Tommy relives his life and dreams of happiness with Rosita. Realizing he loves Leonard even more than he loves Rosita, Tommy decides to kill himself so that they may be happy, and allows himself to drown. During his memorial service, Tommy's spirit appears in the church to give his blessing to the new couple.