A criminal, Dean Keaton, is lying badly wounded on a ship docked in San Pedro Bay (California). He is confronted by a mysterious figure whom he calls "Keyser", who shoots him dead and sets fire to the ship. The next day, the police recover twenty-seven bodies and only two survivors: Arkosh Kovash, a Hungarian mobster hospitalized with severe burns, and Roger "Verbal" Kint, a con artist with cerebral palsy. U.S. Customs agent Dave Kujan flies from New York City to interrogate Verbal. The events that led Keaton, Michael McManus, Fred Fenster, Todd Hockney, and Verbal onto the ship are then described by Verbal via Flashback.