Rone anticipated a summer as a real riverman aboard the Black Hawk, a Mississippi towboat. But the thirteen year old boy was disgusted when he learned that the only available job was mess boy -- working in the kitchen. And Buck, a bigger boy on board, resented Rone bitterly. In a fist fight, when Buck takes a line from Rone's locker without his consent, Rone knocks him by accident into the water. Buck's leg is broken and Rone, in disgrace with his crewmates, is put ashore to take Buck home. But when Rone escorts Buck to his family farm, the boy's father is not at home. A flood threatens the house and the injured boy. Buck foregoes his chance on another towboat to look after Buck- with final consolation for Rone in the Captain's offer of another summer aboard the Black Hawk. A brief, relatively easy reading action story for boys based upon the author's assumption that a 13 year old boy could work on a family-owned boat despite restrictive child labor laws.