The setting: Eighteenth-century New Orleans. Marietta D'Altena is visting the city to esacpe an arranged marriage. There she meets Captain Dick Warrington, who is preparing to lead his men in an attempt to bring down a pirate band. She initially has her eyes set on another gentleman, Etienne Grandet (son of the lieutenant governor of New Orleans), but he turns out to be the leader of the pirates, and Marietta turns her affections toward the captain. She knows that he is the man for her because he can complete a song that she remembers from her childhood — "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life."