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William Canfield, known as Steamboat Bill, once River Junction's leading citizen, owns the riverboat Stonewall Jackson. His rival, J. J. King, the town banker, storekeeper, hotelkeeper, and wealthiest citizen, is attempting to cause Bill's financial ruin with his new river packet named King, after himself. Bill happily anticipates the arrival of his son, whom he has not seen since babyhood, and goes to the station to meet him. Anticipating that he will have a husky partner in his struggle with King, Bill and his mate are dismayed to find that Willie is a shrimp who wears college clothes, plays a ukelele, and sports a mustache. He hustles Willie off to the local haberdasher, and there Willie meets a girl with whom he falls in love--King's daughter, naturally. After several quarrels with King, Bill lands in jail, his boat condemned. Willie tries, unsucessfully, to spring his father and ends up in the hospital just as a cyclone hits River Junction. The film concludes with Willie saving the Stonewall Jackson, his sweetheart, his father (floating down the river in the jailhouse), King, and, finally, a preacher.