Jack Ford loses his Midas touch and becomes a victim of the Wall Street crash which forces him to leave New York with gangsters threatening his life. He returns, illegally, to Liverpool as a stowaway on a cargo boat, which costs him every penny he has. He then sets about finding old friends and rebuilding his life. Jack meets Canon Penfold by chance who recommends hostel lodgings. After a nasty experience with a sadistic room mate and numerous drinking binges, Jack realises he's reached rock bottom. However, his luck is about to change. Returning to Gallowshields Jack is shocked to hear about Matt Headley's death. He receives a cool welcome from Sarah, Matt's widow, who begrudgingly offers to give him temporary lodgings. Jack feels Sarah's brother is hiding something and sets out to discover what it is. Margaret Carter-Brown, a 'social commentator' meets Jack and he shows her how the depression affects families in Gallowshields and the misery it causes. At the Master Shipbuilder's Dinner Jack discusses an Argentinian deal which would revive the shipyard. Jack is back to 'ducking and diving' and buying fire damaged bankrupt goods from the South Americans for Sarah to sell. He has also found romance with Margaret, the well-bred Socialist.