The freshwater pearl industry once flourished along Indiana's inland waterways. In the early decades of the twentieth century, about 600 pearl fishers operated around Vincennes alone. This film documents Barnett Bass as he fishes for fresh-water mollusks in southern Indiana's White River. The film explores issues of technological innovation, international trade and resulting stresses in the environment. In 1986 the film won the Award of Excellence for Best Ethnographic Film in The Americas.