After failing to be the first to reach the South pole by only 97 miles in 1909, Shackleton set out to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent via the pole. The expedition met disastrous results when its ship became trapped and ultimately crushed in the ice pack. Shackleton and his 26-man crew endured the long polar winter before ultimately finding rescue following an 800-mile open boat voyage on the Weddell sea. Against all odds, the entire crew of The Endurance survived. Frank Hurley's original film footage was used by Butler along with interviews of surviving relatives to present the story of Shackleton's expedition.
The film was well received by critics, and was nominated for and won several awards. Butler followed it up the next year with another documentary about Shackleton's expedition entitled Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure.