1872 was a good year for the Dower Brothers firm in Conche, Newfoundland. Seals were plentiful and fetched a high price on the market, so Edward Dower, ever the ambitious entrepreneur, purchased a sturdy seagoing vessel, The Elsie, and set out in pursuit of the precious whitecoat with twelve of Conche's finest sons. Battling ferocious Arctic winds, Skipper Ned pushed on and would secure the biggest catch he'd ever seen. Little did Edward know that his wife Ellen was fighting a battle of her own, and losing? Ellen Dower, a beautiful woman in her forties, was failing fast, and much to the shock of the people of Conche, she would eventually succumb to her illness, but Ellen's death was only the beginning.