For political reasons the Macnamara family are forced to leave their old home in Pennsylvania, and elect to resettle in Trinidad. A big mistake because it is being administered by a bigoted Spanish religious government. The mother dies and is buried, but two Roman Catholic priests arrive with the intention of carrying out the funeral under their rites. So once again the family are displaced, this time for religious reasons. They escape to South America, and make their way into the Orinoco river. There follow innumerable adventures and near shaves of various kinds. But it was a mistake again, because the Spanish are administering the territory, and wish to root out anyone who has no business to be there.