Young Nate Lawton is caught between the rigors of the fledgling United States Navy's discipline and the demands of his ambitious Captain. Nate seems doomed to pay the price of his newly appointed rank of Acting First Lieutenant on the
USS Hancock, a brig fresh from the shipyard. He becomes the captain's scapegoat, and the target of the crew's hatred. He must choose between his patriotic duty, and the implicit responsibility of his office.