powered by AFI
In a prologue, author Jack London is shown reading at his ranch. In the main story, sailor Martin Eden becomes tired of life in the South Seas and makes his way back to Oakland, California. When Martin saves Arthur Morse from a gang of ruffians, the two become friends, and later Martin falls in love with Arthur's sister Ruth. Embarrassed by his ignorance, Martin attempts to educate himself but runs out of money and again goes to sea. On ship he writes the first of many stories to be rejected by publishers and becomes friends with Russ Brissenden, an anarchist poet, with whom he attends a Socialist meeting. When Arthur learns of Martin's ties to socialism, he convinces Ruth to break with him. Martin later finds that Russ killed himself just before his work was accepted for publication. Martin eventually becomes successful, but he rejects false friends and cares only for Maria, his widowed Italian landlady, and her many children. After purchasing a farm for Maria, Martin sets sail for the South Seas and drowns himself after becoming despondent.