Scene: the California coast ca. 1900. Nat Bartlett is trying to commit his father, a former whaling captain, to the local asylum. The neighbors have complained about the Captain's pacing on the roof of his house at night, watching for the return of his lost ship with its supposed cargo of treasure. Although the ship had been reported lost at sea, Captain Bartlett has almost convinced Nat, who wavers between the truth and a madness engendered by his father's strange behavior, that it will return. Near the end three seamen from the lost ship appear carrying a chest of treasure. Are they real or a figment of the Captain's and Nat's madness? The Captain dies suddenly and Nat finds a map showing where the treasure was supposed to be buried --- "where the cross is made."