Kino and Juana live peacefully in La Paz, Mexico. They live by the ocean in a brush house outside of the town, with their child, Coyotito.
Coyotito is stung by a scorpion and requires medical attention, but the family is unable to afford the doctor. So, Kino goes out into the ocean in search of a pearl.
The pearl that Kino finds is so unique that it attracts a lot of attention from nearby neighbors and city people, they then try to advantage of KIno. He finds it to be valuable.
During the night, Juana attempts to throw the pearl into the ocean because it has brought them bad luck. Kino follows her and beats her. Then, a stranger attempts to rob Kino in the middle of the night, Kino murders the man. Their canoe is destroyed.
After this, Juana is scared for Kino. Their house begins to burn down. The family must flee to the mountains of the North (Loreto) to escape trouble. Trying to hide from trackers, Coyotito is shot by some when he is mistaken for howling coyotes.
Miserable, defeated, Kino and Juana return to La Paz. Juana carrying the dead baby in the shawl, she tells Kino to throw the pearl in the sea. Kino hears the "Song of the Family."