Jack London rose from poverty to become the highest paid, most popular and most controversial author in the world. From the Klondike to the South Seas his adventures, romances and political views made headlines worldwide. Most people remember Jack London as the author of Call of the Wild but he was the template for the "modern hero,” who rebels against the hypocrisy of society and, through his own hard work, helps change it for the better. To support his family, London dropped out of school after the eighth grade and became a manual laborer, a pirate, a policeman, a sailor, a hobo, and a prospector. Through self-education he eventually became a writer, a photographer and one of the leading Socialists of his time. His writings, love affairs, adventurous lifestyle and social activism have had a lasting impact on literature and society. This documentary film uses interviews with leading Jack London scholars, as well as Jack’s own photographs, literary works, and movie clips from popular Jack London films to elucidate Jack’s adventures, character, lifestyle, love life and personal philosophy, and show how they reflected, conflicted with and changed the political, and social mores of his times. His refrain, “I’d rather be ashes than dust,” sums up his passion for life.