The story begins in a remote seaside beach where a young family of three live. Their names are Kino, juana and their baby son coyotito. They are poor but the family still lives a realtivly happy life.
Coyotito gets bit by a scorpion and kino and juana cant afford to pay the doctor so they go to look for a peal in the ocean. While kino is on the search for a pearl juana stays home praying that kino finds a pearl bigger than any other. He finds a pearl that attracts the villagers. After curing coyotito he be's attacked by theives trying to get the pearl from him.
The two decide they must leave. Kino and Juana find the canoe destroyed and their brush house burned. The family hides in Juan Tomas's hut and then flee the village with the pearl.
When Kino and Juana decide to run away with the pearl they get followed and he tries to create false trails for the trackers. When he finally finds the trackers he tries to attack them. They hear a cry coming from the mountains and the trackers shoot towards the sound. and he goes up the mountains and finds his son dead.
While carrying their dead child they go to the beach from the mountains and take the pearl and throw it as far back into the ocean as far as they could.