Director Sam Wood always seemed most comfortable with cozy family-oriented films like Lord Jeff. Freddie Bartholomew plays Geoffrey Braemer, a basically good kid who falls in with bad company. The orphaned Geoffrey is being used as part of jewel-theft scheme masterminded by his so-called aunt Doris Clandon (Gale Sondergaard) and her confederate Hampstead (George Zucco). Left holding the bag when his cohorts skip town, Geoffrey is saved from reform school by kindly Captain Briggs (Charles Coburn), who enrolls the boy in the Russell-Cotes Merchant Marine Training School. At first antagonistic, Geoffrey eventually makes friends with his fellow students, especially Irish boyo Terry O'Mulvaney (Mickey Rooney). A series of misunderstandings brings disgrace upon Geoffrey, but he redeems himself by delivering Doris and Hampstead into the waiting hands of Law-with a little help from his new shipmates, of course. A teenaged Peter Lawford makes his American film debut as Geoffrey's school chum Benny Potter.