In the story The Pearl, an innocent native couple, Kino and Juana, who have an infant son, Coyotito, live happily in their village. Many of the villagers support themselves through diving for oysters and fishing. They hope to find pearls in the oysters because they can trade them for money.
When their son is stung by a scorpion and becomes ill, they have to rush him to the local doctor. The local doctor does not want to treat the boy because he knows they have no money. On a dive, Kino finds a magnificent pearl that is worth a lot of money. The couple experience excitement and happiness at all the good fortune that the pearl will bring to them. When the doctor learns about the pearl, he suddenly becomes the doting doctor.
Kino's pearl is well-known by everyone in the village. When Kino tries to trade it locally, he is offered an amount below the value of the pearl. Kino and his wife find that their home has been ransacked as men try to steal their pearl. They decide to travel to a location where they can sell the pearl themselves.
While on their journey, they are followed by men who intend to take the pearl and kill them. The journey is difficult, and Coyotito is killed by the men who have been tracking them. Kino kills the men. The couple return home defeated and grieved. The pearl has brought them nothing but bad luck because it made people greedy. Juana does not want the pearl in their lives anymore, and she believes if it is returned to the sea, it would be better for everyone.