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English explorer Captain John Smith, founder of the English colony at Jamestown, Virginia, is summoned to the chambers of King James I to explain the disturbing reports coming out of the colony. Smith explains the situation by telling the king all about the colony, beginning with his arrival there in 1607: While living among the early settlers of Jamestown, Smith is falsely accused of mutiny, arrested and ordered to return to England by Edward Wingfield. Wingfield believes that Smith's presence in Virginia will spoil his plans to turn the colony into a base for privateers. Davis, one of the many disillusioned colonists at Jamestown, expresses the belief shared by many others that they came from England not to be "grubbers of the soil and make friends with the Indians," but to seek gold and fortunes. Smith is put on a ship bound for England, but he manages to escape and swim back to shore. As soon as he arrives on land, however, Smith encounters an Indian war party about to attack Jamestown. After killing one of the warriors, Smith races to the colony to warn the others. Although his warning gives the colonists enough time to prepare for the attack, they lose many men and much of their provisions in the battle. Soon after Smith is elected leader of the colonists, a position he must share with Wingfield, he leaves on an expedition into the wilderness with two of his allies, John Rolfe and Fleming, hoping to make peace with Indian chief Powhatan. En route, the men meet three Indian maids swimming in a pond, including Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas. Smith falls instantly in love with Pocahontas, but she runs away when he tries to give her a gift. Smith and his companions later meet Nantaquas, the son of Powhatan, who takes them to his father. Powhatan, however, believes that all white men are untrustworthy and orders their immediate beheading. Pocahontas, unable to bear the sight of Smith's execution, saves his life by throwing herself on him just as Opechanco is about to kill him. Pocahontas then insists that Smith marry her as a way to ensure that the peace will be kept. While Smith, Pocahontas and the others make their way back to Jamestown, Wingfield and his allies, Davis and Turnbull, decide to take over the colony so that they can keep their newly discovered gold. The peace between the colonists and the Indians is jeopardized when Opechanco is caught trying to steal a gun from the colonists' stockade. Opechanco is imprisoned, but Wingfield and Davis release him and, in an attempt to spoil the peace, deliver hundreds of the colonists' guns to the Indians. Davis later kills Macklin, a settler who threatened to tell Smith about the gold, and plants Nantaquas' knife in the man's back. In exchange for the weapons, the newly armed braves then engage the colonists in a battle planned by Wingfield. Soon after the war party is called off, Smith sets a trap for Wingfield by announcing that the gold found nearby is Fool's Gold. Wingfield falls for the trap, and Smith defeats him. Badly hurt in a fight with Wingfield, Smith is put aboard a ship sailing for England. Realizing that Jamestown needs Pocahontas' leadership to survive, Smith tells her that he is about to die and leaves her behind to marry Rolfe. Arriving safely in England, Smith makes a full recovery and finishes telling the story of Jamestown. The king then bestows his gratitude upon Smith, and the adventurer prepares for his next mission.