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The gold fever hits San Francisco and then the nation as men pick up roots and head for Alaska. Family man Samuel Foote, known as The Worm, forsakes his home; Lars Petersen, an outsized Michigan lumberman, leaves his wife; Salvation Jim leaves the Nevada desert; and the Bulkeys, with a poor relation, Berna, and her blind grandfather, plan to move their restaurant to the Klondike. Berna's grandfather is among the many who die during the months of travel from Dawson City across the Alaskan wastes. They arrive to find evil men like Jack Locasto enforcing a cutthroat existence, which drives the Bulkeys back to the States but strengthens the love between Berna and young adventurer Larry. She convinces him to return, but he prevails to try once more. Lars, Larry, Jim, and The Worm finally hit a vein, and Larry and The Worm stay on guard while the others return to record the claim. Left to die by his friend, Larry survives only when The Worm's attempt to steal the last matches backfires and he is eaten by wolves. Larry returns to find Berna a fallen woman, and only after burning Locasto to death in a saloon brawl can Larry and Berna, with the only other survivors, Lars Petersen and Jim, salvage the remains of their greed-gutted lives.