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After three years at sea, Chester Tuttle returns home to his beloved family in Tahiti, with only a fighting rooster to show for his labor. Jonas, the shiftless family patriarch, decides to enter the bird in a match against the rooster owned by Emily, the head of a prosperous neighboring clan. To earn money to bet on the match, Jonas sends his boys out fishing, but when their boat runs out of gas, he is forced to borrow money once again from kindly Dr. Blondin. Because Jonas already owes the doctor 17,000 francs, Jensen, the devious storekeeper, convinces Blondin to ask for a mortgage on the Tuttle house as collateral. On the day of the match, Jonas bets the 10,000 francs that his sons have earned fishing, the family vanilla crop and all their furniture on the bird. When the rooster loses, the Tuttles forfeit everything, including Chester's fiancée Tamara because her mother, Emily, forbids her to marry a penniless man. When Blondin warns Jonas that he must pay his mortgage, the boys set out on another fishing trip and are battered by a raging storm. Taking refuge on an abandoned ship, the boys wait out the storm and then tow the vessel into port, where they claim the ship for themselves, according to the canons of maritime law. As the boys near land, word spreads of their arrival, and Jonas and his mother, Mama Ruau, who thought the boys perished at sea, give thanks. When Jensen offers Jonas 400,000 francs for the ship and its cargo, he accepts. Jonas then deposits the money in the bank, and after withdrawing the money he owes Blondin, gives the boys their own checkbooks. After discovering that Blondin is out of town, Jonas stashes the money in a catalog. Jonas and his boys quickly squander the rest of the money, and as a result, on the day of Chester's wedding, Jensen's men appear to repossess the Tuttle's furniture because all their checks have bounced. Emily, furious, snatches Tamara from the arms of her new husband and takes her home. Soon after, Jensen announces that the Tuttle mortgage is overdue and gives them one day to pay it. As Jonas begins to search for the catalog containing the payment, he realizes that it is lost and with it, the house. On the day that the Tuttles' land is to be sold at auction, Jonas chases Chester's bird under the house, where he finds the missing catalog. After paying the doctor, Jonas swears he will never bet again, but as he climbs into his truck, he finds his sons holding a new fighting cock, the new hope for the Tuttle fortune.