The journey of Robert Oven and his Boatload of Knowledge down the Ohio River to New Harmony, Indiana, in 1825 form an exciting and authentic background for the story of fifteen year old Allan Ward- spoiled, unfriendly, and given up by his stern father and Philadelphia teachers as a hopeless case. Addicted to the natural sciences, Allan is set against the world of the rod, in fact, the whole world. And his happiness- moulding venture with the people of the Boatload- Owen, William Maclure, the French teachers and students, the scientist Thomas Say- is not without setbacks. Allan overcomes the treachery of Gator Winston, travelling under false pretenses, and learns the blessings of companionship through hard experience. A warm and mature story that reveals Owen's philosophies.