Bullwhip Griffin takes place during the California Gold Rush in January, 1849. (Gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill about one year before.) Jack Flagg is a 12-year old orphan who decides to run away to California and find gold in order to save the family home and support his Aunt Arabella and... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Bullwhip Griffin takes place during the California Gold Rush in January, 1849. (Gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill about one year before.) Jack Flagg is a 12-year old orphan who decides to run away to California and find gold in order to save the family home and support his Aunt Arabella and his sisters, Constance and Sarah.
When the family's elegant butler Praiseworthy discovers Jack is gone, he follows him and the two both stow away on the ship Lady Wilma when their passage money is stolen on the crowded docks of Boston Harbor. Once at sea, Jack and Praiseworthy meet Captain Swain, the “Wild Bull of the Seas,” who is engaged in a race to San Francisco with the Sea Raven. Praiseworthy, with Jack’s help and the use of Good Luck, a pig, is able to deduce the identity of the “cut-purse” who stole their money. Cut-Eye Higgins is sent to the coal furnaces. Jack thinks Praiseworthy is able to do just about anything and wishes that the butler would be less formal with him and act more like a friend. The Sea Raven beats their ship into the harbor of Callao, Peru, and leaves with all the coal to be had. However, this turns out to be the undoing of the Sea Raven.
It is now too heavy, and at Praiseworthy’s suggestion, the Lady Wilma burns the lumber in her hold and sails into San Francisco to win the race. In the gold fields, Jack and Praiseworthy are befriended by a miner who shows them how to dig and allows them to work on his claim. Jack, who found a picture of his aunt in Praiseworthy’s carpetbag, tells the butler he ought to ask Aunt Arabella to marry him. Praiseworthy feels he does not have the social standing to consider this and reluctantly dismisses the thought. Jack and Praiseworthy run into Cut-Eye Higgins again just as the thief is about to be hanged.
They save him for a bit, but are forced to dig his grave. While digging, they discover gold and quickly stake their claim. They board the riverboat Rich Men. But on the way back to San Francisco, the boiler of the riverboat explodes, and their gold dust ends up on the bottom of the bay.